Tuesday, June 11, 2013

How Much Does The Average Cat Tooth Extraction Cost?

The questions that I receive on Pawbly remind me that I loose track of what you all out there are thinking about. It is a wonderful reminder to listen to my clients and help educate them so they can make the right decisions for their pets.

Here is today's question;

What is an average cost of a tooth extraction for a cat?

Here's my answer;

Hello Rebecca,
Thanks for your question.
Did you know that dental disease is the most common pet ailment? And, that many many pets suffer from chronic long standing dental disease without showing any clinical signs, or at least any signs that their guardians ever notice?
In every single physical exam that I do I take great care and time to examine the mouth of every one of my patients. I also show my clients any problems or concerns that I see. I would estimate that almost every cat that I see over 6 years old is in need of a dental. And, almost every cat over 10 years old is in need of a dental cleaning and at least one tooth extraction.
Every patient and every dental is different. At the clinic I work at we try very hard to give an estimate for any and every service that we provide. But, by far the hardest estimate that I give is the one for a dental. You see until I get my patient under anesthesia, take a full set of digital dental x-rays, clean all of the calculi (that yellow hard stuff that sticks to the teeth, especially the molars), and probe the teeth (we look for pockets along the teeth roots) I cannot usually tell any client exactly what the final dental will require.
I did a dental just yesterday on a very healthy middle aged dog that I thought had just a little calculi and needed a cleaning and polishing, but when I examined the entire mouth when he was under anesthesia I found three very bad teeth with a terrible amount of bone loss around them. One of them was so bad (the last molar, which is found waaay in the back of the mouth) was mobile. It was so loose that I could almost remove it with my fingers. It also caused the tooth next to it to need to be extracted. That presumed 20 minute dental took my an hour and a half. Thankfully the dog did very well under anesthesia, and his dad has promised to start brushing daily so that hopefully he will never need another dental cleaning, or any additional extractions.
His bill at my clinic was almost $400. I would say this is about average for our clinic. But I have seen some dental's take over three hours and cost almost $1,000.
The average cat dental is about $200-$300, but it is always a rough estimate until we start cleaning. But, please understand that as dentals go cats are some of the hardest and scariest to do. Did you know that it is possible to fracture the mandible of a cat when trying to remove a lower tooth? We have to be very careful and patient..or we can make a simple dental a much more difficult procedure.
To add further confusion, in most cases we suggest pre-op blood work, sometimes pre-op antibiotics and always an examination. So even before the dental you might spend a few hundred dollars.
Whenever someone calls me to ask for an estimate I encourage them to not try to price shop this service. It is almost impossible to compare apples to apples. Not every clinic does a dental the same way. For instance, at our clinic almost every patient receives i.v. fluids, pain medications, nerve blocks in the mouth to reduce pain, and i.v. antibiotics. We also routinely check digital dental x-rays for any hidden tooth problems that we cannot see on our oral cavity examination.
So my advice is; It is impossible to give a "good estimate" for this service. I would urge you to not "price shop it" but rather to use a veterinarian with an interest and strength in dental care and most importantly someone that you trust. Your pets dental is one of the very few opportunities we have to do a thorough oral exam, resolve any current or near future problems, and also keep your pet safe, and healthy. If you are uncomfortable with the estimate your veterinarian has given you ask them to explain it to you.
It is my opinion that every pet should have a very thorough pre-op exam, blood work, etc, and a safe, professional dental procedure. For me this includes, i.v. fluids, pain medications, antibiotics (most cases), appropriate orthodontic care, pre-peri- and post-op monitoring, dental x-rays, and a trained skilled veterinarian to perform the procedure using a dental machine that can clean, polish, and has a high speed drill to remove any teeth that need orthodontic extraction.
I am sorry that I couldn't give you a quick dollar reference number, but I hope this helps.
If you need any other assistance or if your cat needs a dental and would like to talk to us about this service, you can find me at the clinic, the address and information is listed below.

Simba's severe dental disease.
If you have any pet related questions you can find me, or any of our other pet experts, at Pawbly. We are here to help you and your pet and we are always free! 
Or, if you are a pet care giver, professional, or any other pet helper please visit us and sign up to help others. It's all about helping people with pets!


  1. My cat needs teeth pulled, but i can't afford it. What can i do?

    1. Hello,
      Without knowing the extent of the dental disease I would recommend that you ask the veterinarian who diagnosed the dental problems who you can get your cat the help that she needs on a budget. There are a lot of options around where I live, like third party payment plans, low cost surgery clinics, and rescues who provide care.

  2. Not for nothing if you have problems that route you could always try a gofundme campaign.

  3. I have been given an estimate for my 15 year old family member our cat of £500 to £800 for 3 teeth removed. How can any of you justify your vetanary bills. It is absolutely rediculouse.i already paid nearly £300 just for the blood tests. I would like to see a break down of how you come up with the price of the anaesthetic in ect. My poor cat and thousands of others have to suffer because of your greedy expenses. It's disgusting. From Mrs E Goddard.

    1. Dear Mrs Goddard,
      If you are unhappy with your vets estimates seek another vet. If however you are so nasty and judgmental that you feel compelled to lump all vets together and label us with your nasty rhetoric I suggest you open your window and shake your cane while yelling your profanities in your own back yard. Your foul hostile mood is not warranted nor welcome here.
      Good Day!

    2. I think most Vet charges are outrageous as well. My Vet gave me a cost of over 1200 for a tooth extraction on my cat. It was 268 dollars just for the blood work. Very sad indeed.

    3. I agree... highway robbery! And if you ask to curb some on the 'unecessary' padding of a bill, you are looked at as a cheap skate! I have actually gotten intimadated by Vets when I wanted to change an estimate. I thought that's why it is called an estimate! Sure, I want the best for my animals, but sometimes you just can't afford a gran out of your pocket right then and there!!!

  4. I've received a quote for $1500 for one cleaning plus extraction of one tooth. I think it's really high.

    1. If you are unhappy with an estimate either ask for a referral to a dental surgeon, or seek a second opinion. There are always options. Some more expensive and some much cheaper. I always ask lots of questions if there is a large disparity between estimates. There is always a reason.
      good luck

  5. We have two cats, Smokey and bandit, Smokey a 12 year male tabby, chubby, and bandit a skinny female, 9 years old, tabby aswell
    recently bandit has stopped eating as much, yowling then vomiting quite abit, and going to the bathroom in places other then her litter box so we brought her to the vet

    turns out she has two abscess teeth... the issue we have is we cant get a loan because we had been unemployed for a long time, and right now dont have the money to take care of her, shes allways been a healthy kitty but this suddenly shown up

    is there any recommendations you can give us?
    im really tired as i havent been able to sleep since i heard the news, and im trying to figure out a way to get her treatment as soon as possible...

    1. Hello,
      I would ask your vet about payment options and if they dont give you any that are helpful call the other clinics around that might. I would also look into CareCredit, and Vet Billing Solutions. I also like to think way outside of the box and wrote this http://kmdvm.blogspot.com/2015/05/how-to-get-something-for-nothing-how-to.html Also ask about whether your vet will hold something of value as collateral so you can care for your dog. In some cases we provide antibiotics and pain management to buy some time before the dental is done and to keep our patients feeling comfortable and able to eat.

  6. It is very useful article for us, thanks for sharing.
    Tooth Extraction Treatments

  7. i agree with these people it is actually cheaper for a human t get a tooth pulled than an animal and a lot of animals suffer because of the high costs of vet care. everyone would lve to do whats right for their animals but whne it comes down to us eating and having a roof over our heads vet care is impossible. theres no way wth the amount of money i make i can afford vet care for my animals. so if you want us to DO THE RIGHT THING you might want to try lowering prices so people can actually afford taking their animals to a vet. its not that i dont love my animals i just simply cant afford a roof over our heads and pay for vet care.