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I’m used to human medicine. I read about it often, historically and in the modern sense, often comparing the two. It’s amazing to see the great progression made from just the 1800s. And some things don’t change much at all. Medical history fascinates me. I’m not certain as to why, but it’s one of those strange facts in life that I won’t waste any time analyzing.

But animal medicine — that’s when I get weak and start to whimper. They don’t complain like humans. On a frustrating note, animals cannot tell us when or how they are hurting. And those innocent faces, the imploring, sad eyes that humans have yet to truly master. I’m used to the fact that people get sick. But I just can’t bear an ailing animal.

I do, however, have a deep respect for those who have the strength to help animals that are feeling poorly. And I also love James Herriot’s stories. Who doesn’t?

My cat recently had another medical adventure. Going in for a dental cleaning, it was discovered that he had a bad case of tooth resorption* — 15 teeth had to be extracted, mostly from the upper jaw. The little guy ended up being under anesthesia for about two and a half hours, factoring in cleaning time and surgery time. That’s longer than I’ve ever been under, and the most teeth I’ve had removed at one time was two. He experienced something more intense that I ever had in the dental department, and I don’t know which one of us was more shaken by it. And seeing his teary eyes when I picked him up from the vet office didn’t help matters at all.


He was obliging enough to pose for a sketchy portrait the day after his procedure, and hooray! — he actually looks content.

Thankfully he is recovering well. He’s taking it easy, of course, and it will take some adjusting with his new lack of teeth, but I am very relieved that he is on the mend and is pretty much back to his usual happy self.

Cat skull and teeth drawing

Cat skull and teeth drawing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

*For those not familiar with tooth resorption, it is, most simply put, breaking down of the tooth from the inside, exposing the root. It is painful. And it is very common in cats, moreso than in dogs, and extraction is all that can be done — at least at this point in history.