At GLVH, we believe that veterinary medicine is as much about preventative care as it is about treatment of pet illnesses. One of the best ways to help maintain your pet's basic health is to ensure that their mouths and teeth are healthy. Thank you to Dr. Melissa Cirinna for this post explaining what to watch for, treatments options and preventative options!
Does your pet show any of these signs?
Avoiding Hard Foods
Pawing at the Mouth
Loss of Teeth
Changes in Behaviour
...If so, they may be part of the 75% of cats and dogs that suffer from dental disease.
Dental disease begins with the accumulation of plaque on the teeth. Over time the plaque hardens into tartar which aggravates the gums causing gingivitis. Gingivitis is painful inflammation of the gums, we see it as red, inflamed gums that may bleed when touched. With time, gingivitis will progress to periodontal disease. Signs of periodontal disease include tooth loss, infection and pain. Periodontal disease can also lead to bacteremia. Bacteremia is the presence of bacteria in the blood. Bacteremia can lead to heart, kidney and liver disease.
Thankfully periodontal disease is preventable through good oral hygiene routines. Good oral health starts with puppies and kittens who should be introduced to daily brushing as part of their early training. In addition to brushing, pets should be fed a diet specifically formulated to keep plaque accumulation to a minimum and mechanically remove tartar build-up. Chewing on toys and treats can also help, but exercise caution, toys can be too hard. Take the knee cap test, if you would not be comfortable hitting the toy against your knee cap, then your pet shouldn't be chewing on it. Avoid bones and hard nyla bones. Visit the Veterinary Oral Health Council site for a list of treats, food and products that have met their standards maintaining oral health.
What if your pet already shows signs of dental disease, is it too late? Of course not! The first step for cats and dogs with signs of oral disease is a thorough veterinary exam. After examination the veterinarian may recommend a dental prophylaxis and examination under general anesthesia. During the dental prophylaxis and examination the veterinarian will thoroughly examine your pet's mouth and document any signs of disease including gingivitis, loose teeth, abscesses, gingival recession, root exposure and fractures. All teeth will be scaled to remove tartar build-up and polished. Diseased teeth, loose teeth or fractured teeth will be extracted to remove any source of pain or infection. After a dental prophylaxis the veterinary team will help you to begin an at home plan that includes brushing and an appropriate diet to maintain the health of your pet's mouth.
Speak with your veterinary team today to book your pets' free oral health assessment!