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Quiet after dentistry.

Species: Cat
Breed: black tabby
Age: More than 15 ye
Good morning...this may be lengthy...sorry.

Despite my cats advanced age of 17, she has always been in excellent health. She plays laser, travels with us, is constantly at our side and very engaged.

3 weeks ago she had to have her first procedure, had 2 teeth removed under anesthesia. She came home with antibiotics and pain med which we had to give her for a week. Her affect changed completely. She became very "mopey" and unengaged. We even took her back to vet fearing something wrong and were told was just because we were giving her meds and would straighten itself out. All of her lab work while at vet was completely normal, no temp.

Anyway 2 more weeks have passed and she is still NOT the same girl. She is eating well and back to hard food without trouble. She is moving bowels and urinating, although sometimes not in litter, but that is not new. She is still very mopey and sits in strange places for hours kind of staring down, like he is timid or scared. She will not engage with my husband, who is HER BUDDY! Additionally, she has started shaking her back paw, like she is trying to get kitty litter off, but nothing there. She suddenly looks and is acting her age, but this is VERY different than before her procedure.
Thought maybe anesthesia having a prolonged effect due to her age, but has been weeks now and she is SO different.

We are very sad and concerned and hope you have some insight.

Thank you.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

I'm so sorry for the delay in getting back to you.

This is a difficult question to answer. It is good that you had some bloodwork done on Maggie as my first thought was to be concerned that there could be a kidney or liver issue that was made worse by anesthetic but it sounds like this is not the case.

If the moping was most prevalent right after surgery then I would say that the pain medication could be the cause. However, if she is still acting strange two weeks later then something is not right.

I'm not sure how to interpret the shaking of her paw. It almost sounds like there is something neurological going on.

Unfortunately this is one of those types of cases where it is going to be really hard to get an answer. It's possible that there was some type of brain damage under anesthetic but this usually happens if there is a prolonged time without oxygen which is rare.

It's also possible that the body is fighting something that just won't show up on blood tests such as some type of cancer.

Another possibility is if there is some residual pain. You can ask your vet whether it is possible that there are any tooth roots still left behind. This can cause pain that can definitely cause lethargy. And that pain is not always resolved with medication. If this is at all possible then an xray may show it if your vet has dental xray capability. If there is any left tooth root then another surgery is in order to remove it.

Unfortunately I have had cases like this though where no cause was found. Some just get better on their own so hopefully this will happen!

Wish I could add more. :(

Dr. Marie.



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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

Thank you for your thoughtful reply. We hope it straightens out also, but fear our hope misplaced. She is just a different animal :-( Have a nice rest of your summer and thank you again!


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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.