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.

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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