Brachycephalic breeds are unmistakable. These flat-faced cats have short muzzles, flat faces and big, bulging eyes. Persian, Himalayan, and Burmese cats are the most well-recognised of these smushed-face cats.
In Brachycephaly, the skull bones are shortened, producing that characteristic punched-in-the-face appearance. Because of a skull structure, a cat's jaw is affected, causing the teeth and the jaw to be misaligned.
Developmental dental anomalies can arise as these cats cannot bite and chew properly, leading to dental problems and difficulty eating.
A study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association by Lisa Mestrinho, João Louro, Iněs Gordo, and their colleagues in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association in 2018, was done to determine the prevalence of dental abnormalities in a population of purebred, brachycephalic Persian and Exotic cats.
The researchers looked at different geographic regions and evaluated the potential relationship with oral disease in these cats.
The study included 50 purebred Persian and eight Exotic cats. The cats were anaesthetised to perform a complete dental examination, dental charting, 3-view oral photography and full-mouth dental radiography.
The cases were from California, USA; Lisbon, Portugal and Krakow, Poland. The cats were almost equally distributed among the sexes.
The results showed that malocclusions (where teeth are misaligned ) were commonly observed in 36 (72%) cats. Malocclusion of the canine teeth (30%) and crowding of the incisor teeth (50%) were the most common abnormalities.
Crowding of teeth involving the premolar and molar teeth was also observed. Thirty-two of the fifty cats (64%) had at least one tooth with some form of positional change where orientation was the most common positional abnormality (79%) followed by rotation (1.4%) and impaction (0.37%).
The mandibular (lower jaws) incisor teeth were the most commonly affected by positional change. Numerical abnormalities were found in 38 (76%) cats, primarily hypodontia, 32 (64%), and 6 (12%) with hyperdontia. Maxillary (upper jaws) second premolars were most commonly absent teeth and maxillary first molars were second most common.
Periodontal disease was found in 44 (88%) cats. As expected, periodontal disease was noted in older cats versus those without periodontal disease. Tooth resorption (a condition in which the body begins breaking down and absorbing the structures that form the tooth) was also present in 35 (70%) cats.
The teeth most affected with inflammatory resorption were premolar teeth and canine teeth were the ones most commonly affected with replacement resorption.
The investigators state the results suggest the unique oral and dental features associated with Brachycephaly can predispose Persian and Exotic cats to dental diseases such as tooth resorption and periodontal disease. They concluded that veterinarians should monitor brachycephalic breeds of cats for the development of dental diseases. Knowledge of the particular dental anomalies common in these cats could help detect and mitigate dental disease in these breeds.
*This article can be found in the June 2021 issue of Pets Magazine