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Compendium November 2010 (Vol 32, No 11)

Reading Room: Feline Dentistry Oral Assessment, Treatment, and Preventative Care

    Title: Feline Dentistry: Oral Assessment, Treatment, and Preventative Care

    Author: Jan Bellows

    Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

    Year: 2010

    Pages: 314

    ISBN: 978-0-8136-1613-5

    In his preface to this book, Dr. Colin E. Harvey muses, “Ah, cats. What would veterinary dentistry be without them!” To which he answers, “For sure, a lot simpler and less frustrating.” Feline dentistry is a field where the challenges are many, from the mysteries of autoimmune dental disease to the difficulty of working in the cat’s relatively small mouth. The specialty often has a certain love-hate aspect, within which, as Dr. Harvey puts it, veterinary dentists must constantly work to “ensure that we are not continuously restarting the steep-slope part of the learning curve.”

    Cats have many of the same dental problems as dogs (e.g., gingivitis, tooth fracture), but unlike dogs, their main diseases involve tooth resorption, oropharyngeal inflammation, and maxillofacial cancer. This book is dedicated to discussing and illustrating the dental anatomy, physiology, and pathophysiology unique to cats and to promoting the use of more modern and accurate terminology.

    This book is essentially an atlas, but one that does not stint on text. The first section covers oral assessment, including anatomy, examination, radiology, charting, and pathology. The second section, which focuses on treatment, discusses equipment, anesthesia, periodontal and endodontic disease, tooth resorption, oropharyngeal inflammation, occlusion disorders, trauma surgery, and tumors and swellings. The final section is concerned with prevention, especially plaque control.

    The assessment section is extremely detailed. In addition to the “how-tos” of evaluation and diagnosis, Dr. Bellows offers practical advice on topics such as physical landmarks, acquiring the best radiographic views, and film processing.

    Most of the book is devoted to feline dental disease and trauma. Each condition is discussed with regard to causes, classification of subtypes, clinical signs, diagnosis and imaging, and pharmacologic/surgical treatment. All techniques and procedures are described thoroughly, taking the reader step by step and including information about drugs and special equipment. Common treatment problems are noted as well.

    The section on prevention is very brief but still covers the finer points of tooth care. Procedures and equipment are discussed for office and home care, with particular attention to cats that have special dental needs.

    This book is superbly illustrated with numerous high-quality color photographs that are meticulously labeled. There is likewise a wealth of radiographs, diagrams, charts, tables, and drawings. In addition, the text is divided into concise topics, organized and emphasized by the frequent use of bullet points. This book should make an excellent reference for generalist veterinarians as well as for veterinary dentists who want to review the presentation of a more obscure condition.

    Written by Patricia L. Van Horn, a freelance writer in Long Branch, New Jersey.

    NEXT: Canine Anterior Uveitis [CE]

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