Dental Care for Cats & Dogs
It may sound funny to some, but dental care for cats & dogs is a serious matter. The American Veterinary Dental Society says that 80% of all dogs and 70% of all cats have periodontal disease before they turn three years old. It has also become a proven fact that good dental care can increase the lifespan by as much as five years!
Cats and dogs teeth are much like human teeth in that they can be susceptible to the same diseases such as Gingivitis and Periodontal troubles. Animals rarely get cavities, unlike humans, which is primarily because cavities are generally caused by high sugar content. Periodontal disease affects all mammals. It is caused by bacteria and plaque which basically attaches the soft gum tissue to the mouth. Gingivitis is the first stage of this disease. It is the point where bacteria has mixed with the saliva in the mouth and has formed a plaque.
When this plaque attaches itself to the teeth, it forms what is known as tartar and calculus. These deposits irritate the gums and causes bleeding, swelling and even infection. Gingivitis is most noticeable when it is in this particular stage.
Some early signs that Gingivitis is present are redness, swelling, bleeding, seriously bad breath and trouble chewing. You may notice that you dog or cat is not eating as heartily as they once were. When Gingivitis is caught at this stage, it is very treatable. While many pet owners are catching on to this, there are still many who don’t at this time.
Just like humans, dental care for cats and dogs is a necessity. They should be taken to a qualified vet, who in most cases will have to put your pet under anesthesia so that they can properly examine your pet’s teeth and clean them thoroughly. If Gingivitis is left on its own and goes untreated, it will progress to periodontal disease, which is not treatable.
When Gingivitis gets to the stage that it becomes periodontal disease, there begins to be significant bone loss and the teeth become weak and start to loosen. It some cases, the teeth may simply fall out. The pets may also begin to lose weight. This is a direct result of the problem because the nutritional intake is significant lower as the animal may start to eat less because of the problem.
The vet will generally look at your pets teeth when you take them in for a checkup. The in-between times however are usually when the problems occur, and if you wait 6 months or more to have your pet’s teeth checked it may be too late. So, as you can see, dental care for cats & dogs is just as important as that of humans, and they should be examined as soon as you begin to notice issues with them. It’s important to your pet’s overall health, and could quite literally help to live longer, happier and healthier lives!
|Jung In D DVM MPH|
General Practice Veterinarian, Emergency Veterinarian Services
|Pet Medical Center|
General Practice Veterinarian, Veterinary Clinics, Specialty Veterinarian Services
|Quinley Jim DVM|
General Practice Veterinarian
|Brinker Animal Hospital |
Specialty Veterinarian Services, Veterinary Surgery
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