Thursday, September 6, 2012

A Very Birchy Update

It's been almost a week since Birch had his dental surgery, and he's doing really well - he's eating crunchy food and everything.

Here he is an hour or two after we got home.
The day of his surgery, Birch ended up being at the vet for about nine hours - I dropped him off at 10am and picked him up at 7pm.  I think a lot of that time was just to allow him to recover from the anaesthetic afterward, though.  Surely the procedure itself couldn't have taken more than a few hours.

The vet who did the surgery was really great - he called me in the middle of the procedure just to let me know that he was halfway done and Birch was doing okay.  At that point, Birch had had three teeth pulled: two back teeth and one of his mighty fangs...

It's that fang, if you're curious.  Which you can't see in this "before" picture anyway.

...but that was just on the one side.  The vet said there would probably be more to do on the other side.

When I came to pick Birch up, the vet gave me a thorough explanation of why the teeth needed to be pulled, and a bunch of information about cat teeth in general.  Some people might be annoyed by this, but I like feeling like I know what's going on so I loved it*.  The vet also gave me a little bottle of liquid pain killer to squirt under Birch's tongue** if he seemed to be in discomfort...and then, at long last, he brought my baby boy out so I could take him home.

Oh, also...they saved the teeth for me. :D

I don't know why I took them home with me, but...yeah.

I guess the vet ended up pulling a fourth one after he called me..?  For some reason I don't specifically remember him telling me the total number of extractions.  At first I thought that tiny tooth was a fragment of the broken-looking one at the bottom there, but the pieces don't fit together so I guess the total comes to four.

Anyway, once we got home and I opened up the carrier, Birch jumped up on the couch for purrsnuggles pretty much immediately.  I knew that he's a resilient boy, but I was still surprised by how totally normal he seemed.  I mean, I left him with strange people all day - which I never do - and he was injected with knockout drugs and he surely must have woken up with confusion and mouth pain (also perhaps arm pain from the I.V. and throat pain from the tube they put down there).  I figured at the very least he'd need to hide under the bed for a while once we got home, but no!  He did sleep a lot (who could blame him?) but he did his sleeping out in the open, like on any other day.

And!  I'd been afraid that his face would look different after having his teeth pulled, like maybe kinda caved in or something...

Artist's rendering.

...But it doesn't.  Although - I hasten to add - I would still think he was beautiful no matter what.

Around bedtime I endeavoured to give Birch some of that liquid pain killer, hoping it would help him sleep better.  I think the process of getting the eyedropper into his mouth was more traumatizing than whatever pain he may have been in.  He hid under the bed until morning and I decided not to give him more pain killer unless he was really acting miserable.

From that point onward, it was almost as if nothing had ever happened.


I mean, obviously I switched him from kibble to wet food for a few days.  And for a while after the surgery, he couldn't really meow; when he tried, all that came out was a hoarse little quack.  I mentioned this to a friend and she told me that animals (and people, too, I suppose) usually get a tube put down their throat during surgery, so maybe there was some irritation from that.  Also, sometimes Birch would randomly make a really disgusting horking sound and then snort/sneeze a bunch of times.  It pretty much seemed like he was moving snot (or...blood clots?) from one part of his head to another, but y'know what, it's probably just as well I don't know the details.  At any rate, all of that stuff seems to be over now.

I'm so proud of my brave boy. <3

*I did not love hearing that Birch and I will probably have to go through this again every few years because his teeth and gums basically suck.  But we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

**You have no idea how badly I wanted to try putting it in his ear, instead.  Any mucous membrane oughta do it, right?


  1. yay for birch! are you going to put the teeth in a tiny vial and wear it around your neck?!

    1. Possibly! Maybe I'll incorporate them into an art project of some kind.

      I wouldn't have thought twice about it if the vet hadn't saved me the teeth...but since he did, I cna't bring myself to throw them away. :P