Cow Mau’s third dental procedure

“If you have anything important to say, please…start at the end!”

Cow Mau is okay, dental done and is back home now!

Last night, I wrote this:

Cow had a dental procedure in March 2019 where two teeth were extracted. At that time, Vincent had just passed away from kidney failure and I decided to send all our cats for a check-up, particularly on their dental health because Vincent’s kidney condition started with bad dental hygiene, being a former stray. Vincent had dental procedures done earlier, but it still affected his kidneys later.

So in 2019, all the boys had to do a dental procedure and had teeth extracted – Indy, Bunny, Ginger and Cow Mau. Indy had the worst – a total of 7 teeth extracted. Only the girls were spared (Pole, Cleo, Heidi and Tabs). So far, everyone has been fine except Cow Mau and Cleo. Pole and Heidi have since passed away.

Cleo had her dental done in December 2021 when she could no longer eat due to the pain, so there was no choice, really. She simply couldn’t eat anymore. Cleo’s dental, unfortunately, had complications after that where she had a sinus problem and bleeding. The sinus problem lasted more than a week, but finally, she recovered and has been okay since then. Cleo had 5 teeth extracted.

Now, Cow started having this pawing on his right side in May 2020 (pain) and ended up having another dental procedure in September that year, resulting in the extraction of 2 more lower teeth. That was his second dental.

But this year, he had that same pawing on his right side again. There was definitely pain. Poor Cow Mau. He started having problems eating this time. We finally had to take him for another evaluation since it was getting worse and the vet said it was the same thing again. Due to Cow being FIV-positive, he is very prone to gum inflammation and infections. So the vet gave the usual medication, including Convenia (the antibiotic injection) to clear the infection first. Then, another dental procedure would be needed after two weeks.

But what happened was that Cow started having mild seizures, which I suspect, was hyperesthesia. The vet said the dental would have to be postponed until the seizures clear up. So we first started with Advocate spot-on to rule out an ectoparasite bite (which can cause the mild seizures). I honestly didn’t think it would be due to an ectoparasite bite since the seizures were so similar to Tiger’s (cause undetermined last time, and no cure too).

But three days after the application of Advocate spot-on, Cow stopped having the seizures. Now, it’s been 11 days where Cow has been seizure-free so last week, the vet said I could already schedule Cow for his dental as long as he has been seizure-free for 7 days straight.

Cow Mau’s blood work was normal when we last checked, so the vet says it is okay to proceed even though Cow is already 16 years old. She will do all the necessary precautions for geriatric cats. Of course I worry. There will always be the risk of anaesthesia. During the dental procedures in 2019, Cow was okay and got up fine. It was Bunny who had trouble waking up and needed more time than usual. But still, I worry. I hope Cow will be alright and please, let this dental take care of the pain and problem once and for all. No more fourth dental, please. Cow is getting old. The vet said Cow’s caudal palatoglossal arch on both sides were inflamed and she would like to check for cancer just to rule it out. Cleo had a cancer check done too and thankfully, she was fine. There were no cancer cells. Let’s hope Cow would be okay too.

(I wrote the above last night.)

6.30am: Today is Cow Mau’s dental. I woke up early at 5.20am to give everyone breakfast since the procedure would only be done at 2pm-3pm, at the earliest. Cow would have had the mandatory 8 hour fast.

Since a few days ago, I’ve been explaining to Cow Mau that he will be undergoing a dental procedure to help alleviate the mouth pain. I told him again this morning. I really, really hope this procedure can have some lasting effect on controlling the pain. I hope the procedure will be smooth and complication-free.

It’s actually a case of being between the devil and the deep blue sea, sort of. Cow is an elderly cat and there will be the risk of going under anaesthesia or complications resulting from the dental surgery later (just as Cleo had). On the other hand, if it’s not done, Cow would have to live with the mouth pain for the rest of his life. It’s not going to go away on its own. He even experiences pain on Cindy’s baby food (which is a paste), so there’s nothing else that I can feed him. And what if Cow, being so tough, withstands the pain for now, but later cannot eat anymore (just like Cleo). Then, we would really need to do the surgery then and Cow will be even older. The devil and the deep blue sea, isn’t it? Cow can still eat now, but there’s definitely discomfort in the mouth.

So it has to be done.

1.30pm: I drove Cow Mau to the vet’s at 11.00am and I’m home now. It’s 1.30pm. Cow Mau’s procedure will be the last surgery for the day because dental procedures usually contaminate the room so it’s always kept to the last. Cow Mau will be put on IV-fluids before the surgery and throughout and the vet will do the usual for geriatric cats to ensure safety during the procedure. When I left Cow Mau, I felt sad because I doubt if he understood why he had to be at the clinic.

Cats are such empaths. Tabs kept me company while we waited for the vet to call.

4.30pm: Even though Cow’s surgery was still ongoing, I decided to make my way to the vet’s already because traffic would be building up soon. When I reached, Cow was already awake! He still had the IV-line.

The vet said they had to try both front legs for the IV-line but it kept bursting, so finally, only the back leg worked. Cow’s temperature was still at 35.1 degrees so he was on the heating pad. Later, the vet assistant warmed him up with the hair dryer for about 20 minutes, and his temperature went up to 36.1 degrees. We could go home!

A total of 6 teeth had to be extracted, and all the extractions were complicated ones because the roots were still strong. And yet, the body’s own immune system were attacking the teeth and gums. All the teeth had holes in them (the vet showed me the holes). The teeth had to be burred as well because they were still strong, even the roots were very strong. Every tooth had to be cut into half in order for it to be extracted. Even part of the gums and bones had to be burred too. Cow was bleeding quite a bit, but adrenaline stopped it.

Cow was given the Convenia antibiotic jab along with a Tramadol jab to control the pain. He was also given the Metacam jab (anti-inflammatory). He had a few sutures too, and this might be painful once the painkiller wears off, so Cow will be on transdermal Tramadol for about 3 days. There is no other medication.

So now, Cow doesn’t have anymore back teeth (the molars and pre-molars have all been extracted now, from the two previous dentals and this one). He only has his canines (even these had holes in them, but the vet left them because extraction of canines might result in sinus complications) and a few incisors. But cats can definitely eat without teeth.

Another good news – the vet checked the cells at the two arches at the back of the mouth because they were very inflamed. There was no presence of any cancer cells! What a relief! So it is all about his own immune system attacking his teeth and gums. That’s because of the FIV+ condition.

We made the long journey home (traffic was really bad). Cow was very patient in the car.

Once we got home, we were greeted by Ryan! I was pleasantly surprised that Ryan helped me carry the carrier into the room, then he even proceeded to open the latches. Aww….

We’re talking about a 2 year old boy here…. Nobody told him what to do, he acted all by himself.

Cow Mau would have to be on the e-collar for about five days, or less if he does not paw his mouth.

He was hungry! I gave him Cindy’s baby food. Again, what would I do without Cindy’s baby food!

You’ll notice that three legs had the IV-port because the two in the front legs burst, so the back leg had to be used.

You’ve been so brave, Cow Mau!

The vet said to keep all the fans off as Cow Mau would need to be warm tonight. So, no fans for everyone!

Cow’s third dental was the one thing which I knew had to be done, but I thought I should postpone it…until now. I was really worried for Cow because of his age, but I’m glad he’s a really tough cookie! Let’s hope this will be his last dental and it will take care of the mouth pain once and for all. Or at least, lessen the pain, if there still is any.  Cow Mau should be able to enjoy his meals from now on.

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