Should Cat With Kidney Issue Get Teeth Cleaned?

CatChannel veterinary expert Arnold Plotnick, DVM, discusses the use of anesthesia in cats with previous liver or kidney illness.

By Arnold Plotnick, DVM | Posted: June 19, 2009, 3 a.m. EDT

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Q: My cat is 8 and for the very first time, the vet wants her to have her teeth cleaned. Two years ago she went into acute renal failure due to food poisoning. The vet said that because of her acute renal failure, they will not use their regular method of anesthesia, but in place of it they will use gas only. Will the gas be safe for her, or should we not have her teeth done?

A: I assume that your cat’s sudden bout of acute renal failure happened during the food recall scare. I’m glad to hear that your cat survived this. Many cats did not, including a few in my own practice. 

Your veterinarian is wise in that he is tailoring his anesthesia protocol to fit your cat’s particular situation. Typically, cats are given an injectable anesthetic to induce the anesthesia, and then are maintained on an inhalant (gas) anesthetic throughout the procedure. Some of these injectable drugs are metabolized by the liver and/or kidneys. If liver or kidney function is compromised, it is best to avoid these drugs and use only gas, which does not rely on the liver or kidneys for metabolism. The gas is very safe. 

I think you should go ahead and have the dentistry done, as dental health in cats is exceedingly important. Your vet sounds very much like he knows what he’s doing. 

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Should Cat With Kidney Issue Get Teeth Cleaned?

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Reader Comments

Linda    Mandeville, LA

6/28/2009 10:15:37 PM

My cat likes to swallow his food with maybe one crunch first, so he has to get his teeth cleaned at least every other year. He is headstrong and doesn't allow me to even brush him so brushing his teeth surely is out of the question.

Karen    Bellingham, MA

6/24/2009 5:44:16 AM

To the posters who would not and who think it's putting them through pain, it is not painful and it IS necessary to ensure the cats health ESPECIALLY because the bacteria can lead to alot more serious problems w/the cat than the simple problem of taking care of teeth that are caked on w/plaque.

Karen    Bellingham, MA

6/24/2009 5:41:23 AM

YES 'absolutely' have your cats teeth cleaned. If the teeth need it, it can cause further damage to the kidneys w/the bacteria that'll get into the system through the gums. I took care of my Bentley for 2 years w/CRF and I had to have his teeth cleaned. My vet did what this article says, gas only, and he came out fine and it was good because he woke up quickly and I was able to take him home quicker. Bad teeth and gums can harm the kidneys so it is very important to have them kept clean.

Lillian    Eugene, OR

6/23/2009 2:39:53 PM

No, I wouldn't put my cat through more pain just to have their teeth cleaned.

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