Good oral health is an important part of the overall general health of your pet. It is often the first place your veterinarian begins when they perform a thorough physical exam on your furry friend!
Did you know that more than 85% of dogs and cats older than three years of age have some degree of periodontal disease?! However, there are generally little to no outward clinical signs of the disease process, and therefore, therapy typically comes very late, often too late, in the disease.
Dental disease is a silent process. When our pets’ teeth are not kept clean and their gums healthy, their mouths can harbour bad bacteria! The average gram of plaque on your pet’s teeth contains over 100 billion bacteria! This bad bacteria leads to the progressive inflammation and destruction of structures that support the teeth, including the gums, cementum, periodontal ligaments and bone, and is the primary cause for early tooth loss.
When pets don’t receive early treatment, periodontal disease can quickly progress causing irreversible damage. It could potentially cause many other illnesses, including kidney, liver, heart, and blood infections.
What are some signs your pet may be suffering from Periodontal Disease? Usually, the first sign of periodontal disease is bad breath!
Other signs of oral and dental disease in dogs and cats are:
- Bleeding of the gums or other tissues in the mouth
- Loose and or discoloured teeth
- Swellings on/around the jaw
- Drooling or dropping food from the mouth; changing of chewing habits
- Loss of appetite or weight loss
A thorough oral exam by your veterinarian is the key to preventing problems before they begin! Because most dental disease occurs below the gumline, where you can’t see it, a thorough dental cleaning and evaluation are performed under anesthesia. Your veterinarian may also take x-rays of the entire mouth. X-rays show the inside of the tooth and the root that lies below the gum line. Many decisions are based on x-ray findings!
Some things you can do at home to ensure your pets maintain a healthy smile are:
- Daily brushing and pet-specific tooth-pastes
- Chlorhexidine oral rinse and gets
- Specific dental diets and chews designed to help decrease dental disease
- Chew toys specifically designed to help brush pets teeth as they play
If you think your pet may be suffering from periodontal disease or you would like more information, contact us today to book your dental exam and consultation with our veterinarians!
Written by: Waterview Animal Hospital