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Resorptive lesions in cats: an update

02 June 2018
10 mins read
Volume 9 · Issue 5


Tooth resorption in feline patients is an enigma in veterinary practice as the aetiology remains unknown despite it being studied for a number of decades. Tooth resorption is however common within the feline population and can lead to a multitude of problems for patients including an inability to eat, and pain. This article aims to review what is known about the development of resorptive lesions in cats and provide an overview of current thinking regarding their treatment and ongoing management.

Kirby (2014) explained that the terminology keeps changing regarding resorptive lesions because they are a relatively poorly understood phenomenon; the aetiology has not been definitively proven. They have been called cervical neck lesions, feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions (FORL) and feline dental resorptive lesions (Zivkovich et al, 2010; Zivkovich et al, 2011), however they are now simply referred to as tooth resorption (TR), and they are commonly documented on dental charts using RL to indicate a tooth with a resorptive lesion.

A RL is a hard tissue defect which most veterinary practitioners first identify when it reaches the cementoenamel junction (CEJ), and at this stage it can be identified by visual and/or tactile examination (Gorrel 2015). Gorrel (2015) advised that clinical examination will only facilitate detection of coronal defects, so concavities in the tooth structure at the CEJ or above (Zivkovich et al, 2010), as opposed to those developing on the root surfaces. They can appear anywhere on the tooth surface, however they tend to be more commonly located on the buccal and labial surfaces (Zivkovich et al, 2011).

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