Most of us do not look into our pet’s mouth often, but when we do we can find some pretty scary stuff. According to the American Veterinary Dental society, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have oral disease by the age of three. Dental disease is by far the most frequently diagnosed health problem in our pets. Common signs of oral disease include tartar build up, red or swollen gums and bad breath. Occasionally changes in eating or chewing habits, pawing at the face, pain and generalized depression might be seen. More commonly however, our pets do not exhibit any change in behaviour or daily activities. This is why dental disease can creep up on our pets and before we know it is in its advance stages.
Dental disease is not confined to the oral cavity. Oral health plays a large role in the overall health of your pet. Because the mouth is very vascular, bacteria surrounding the teeth can easily enter the bloodstream. Circulating bacteria can cause serious kidney infections and kidney failure, liver disease, lung disease, and heart disease. Since dental disease is largely hidden beneath the gum line, we use digital dental X-ray to help us identify problems that are not visible on exam alone. By exposing possible concerns, we have a better chance of addressing the complete oral health of your pet.
Good oral hygiene habits are helpful in preventing dental disease. Early disease can often be reversed with routine dental care at home. We will discuss options for appropriate home dental care for your pet. More advanced periodontal disease may require professional dental cleaning (prophylaxis) in the hospital. This is performed under general anesthetic to eliminate the bacteria and tartar build up that has accumulated. Following dental cleaning, our knowledgeable staff will work with you to develop a manageable homecare strategy for your pet.
Some degree of dental disease (periodontal disease) in pets is inevitable, but without preventive care your pet can quickly accelerate through the stages of oral disease. We are equipped to help your pet with their dental needs whether it be oral surgery and extractions or advice on how to maintain your pet’s dental health at home.