Basepaws Cat “Baby” was always a happy and healthy kitty. When the Basepaws Oral Health Test discovered that he was at medium risk for several feline dental conditions, Baby’s parents took him to the veterinarian. In preparation for Baby’s dental cleaning, the veterinarian uncovered a health issue that saved Baby’s life. We interviewed Corinne, Baby's guardian, and here is their story.
Hi Corinne! Tell us – How did you meet your cat?
A family friend found Baby in a soccer field back in 2009. They had never owned a cat before- they were outside talking to my mom, discussing how he wasn't eating or drinking. They said they were trying to force-feed him water while he was on his back to get him to drink. I was 16 at the time. I asked if I could hold him and walked him right over to our house. And that is where he stayed! I've had Baby for 12 years now.
What is your veterinary relationship like? Do you go often?
We go to the vet every year. I have moved a lot; we've lived in 7 different places since I've owned him between me moving for jobs, college, and internships. This has made it difficult to maintain a good relationship with his veterinarians over the years.
Does your vet examine your cat’s teeth (Flip the Lip)? Do you check them at home?
I do try to check his teeth at home, but he does not let me see his back teeth at all. Recently, he had a dental exam at the vet and they flipped the lip.. I was shocked to see the amount of tartar on his back teeth!
Do you brush your cat's teeth, or use any dental products at home?
I do not brush his teeth, though I do plan on slowly incorporating it into our daily routine after receiving his results from the Basepaws Oral Health Test. I've also purchased a couple of the products that were recommended by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) from the list provided on our Basepaws Oral Health Report.
Why did you decide to get a Basepaws Oral Health Test?
I received the oral health test as a part of the Basepaws focus group based on his swab taken back in December 2019. I was definitely interested in the results. I honestly never knew that dental cleanings were done on cats because I was never informed by the vet. I was particularly interested because around the time I got his report back, his breath was starting to smell bad. I was also interested in the test results because it was something new in the world of feline health and, like any cat owner, I want to do the best job at taking care of him since he can't tell me when he's uncomfortable or feeling pain.
Has Baby experienced any dental issues in the past?
I wasn't aware of any dental issues before the test. From the teeth that I can see (in the front) everything appeared to be fine, even though it was not.
What happened when you did your test? Tell us about the process and the results.
When I took the initial DNA swab in 2019, it was super easy! Even for a cat that does not like his mouth touched. It took exactly 6 weeks to get his DNA test results back, and that is when I joined the Basepaws Cat Club Facebook group. The Facebook group has helped me understand his DNA results beyond what I could have figured out on my own. The information provided in the group has been invaluable thanks to Basepaws and its members.
When I received Baby's dental results, I was concerned to see that he was at medium risk for all three diseases: periodontal disease, tooth resorption, and halitosis. I was especially concerned because these results were from the DNA swab taken over a year prior to receiving the dental test, since the dental test was a new product. I immediately called the vet and made a dental exam appointment for him. During the exam, the vet was able to chip off large dime-sized chunks of tartar off of his back upper molars - a place my cat never dared to let me see or touch when I tried to look. I was mortified. The vet then performed a blood test to see if Baby qualified for anesthesia for a dental cleaning.
What did Baby’s blood test reveal?
To my surprise, the results came back that he had hyperthyroidism! We now have an appointment set for the radioactive iodine treatment (I-131). I am honestly so grateful that I received the dental report and that it led to me learning about his hyperthyroidism. In many ways, Basepaws has saved Baby's life. Besides discovering hyperthyroidism, I've now learned that untreated dental issues in cats can be fatal as well. The last couple of months have been extremely stressful but I'm glad that I know now about these issues before it was too late.
Did you share your results with your veterinarian? Tell us about that.
I did mention the DNA test results to my previous vet, but we have since changed vets after Baby was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. His previous vet did not offer all treatment options for hyperthyroidism and we have found a wonderful cats-only vet that now goes above and beyond for him. I plan on sharing the dental results with them once we have resolved the issue with hyperthyroidism. They said they can perform a dental cleaning procedure as soon as his blood work comes back clear after the I-131 treatment!
What do you like most about the product?
What is there not to like about the product?! Both the Basepaws DNA test and Oral Health Test have helped me get to know my cat better in multiple ways. The dental report has given me a ton of insight into the facts about feline dental disease and dental health. It also provided the appropriate actions to take based on his specific results which is beyond helpful. It even noticed the trace amounts of turkey in his sample which is spot-on because his food has freeze-dried turkey bits in it!
What else can we do to go above and beyond in this product for you?
The only thing that I can think of is to push more people to join the Facebook group. I think the best way to let people know that this product exists is to drive the discussions and communication on social media to get people interested and curious about it. I truly believe that the dental test kit could be a life-saver for many cats.
A special thanks to Corinne Currie and Baby for taking the time to answer our questions about the Basepaws Oral Health Test!