A couple of years ago, I had a pet owner bring in an adult cat because it was meowing differently. That’s not much to go on, but I did a complete physical exam and found nothing. Subsequent blood work also came back normal. Then I recommended sedation, so that we could get radiographs. Again, we found nothing abnormal, so I suggested that we keep the cat and do medical rounds with the rest of the staff.
When the three veterinarians and a couple of vet techs gathered and went over the history, we decided to start at the tip of the cat’s nose and proceed with another detailed exam. This time, I took a pair of hemostats and gently tapped the cat’s teeth, starting in the front.
When I got to the cat’s left upper fang and barely touched it, the cat just about shot up into orbit. We could find nothing else wrong on the repeat exam. We then did digital dental radiographs and saw that the root of the tooth was abscessed. After we surgically removed the infected tooth, the cat acted as if it had been relieved of incredible pain.