Can you guess which disease our veterinarians see most frequently on examinations? It's so common up to 90% of our pets are affected to some degree.
It's painful, smelly and can have serious consequences for a pets quality of life and long term health.
It's... drum roll please... dental disease!
Just like humans, dogs and cats develop plaque in their mouths. This is a slime made up of food debris, saliva and bacteria. This can harden into tartar on the teeth and cause gingivitis. That's infection and inflammation around the gum line. This can lead to erosion of the attachment of the tooth to the jaw and into the tooth itself. This can be very, very painful as any human who has had a cavity can attest. In time the tooth may abscess or splinter into fragments or fall out. Bacteria can enter the blood stream from this horrible infection and often causes damage to the heart or kidneys. None of this is nice and all of this can have a significant negative impact on your poor pet!
How do you know if your pet has dental disease? Have a look - flip the lip! If you see brown staining on the teeth or a red line along the gums this is early dental disease. If there is a lot of redness, a foul smell, oozing pus or gums that seem to be creeping back off the teeth then this is serious, major dental disease. Check your pet today and if you are not sure, come in for a dental assessment here at Brudine Veterinary Hospital.
There are some misconceptions out there regarding dental disease in our pets. One is that pet's will stop eating if they have sore teeth. Thus, if a pet is eating it's easy to think all is well in that mouth. This just isn't true. Animals are keen to stay alive and so they will only stop eating when the pain from there dental disease is so great they would rather stave to death. This sounds rather dramatic but its true. While subtle changes in eating habits may be noticed sooner, it would be best to treat dental disease before it reaches the point of causing pain in the first place!
Another misconception is that 'dog breath' or 'cat breath' is normal. Now while its not realistic to expect a minty fresh smell from your pets mouth, foul odour isn't normal and normally is an indication of dental disease.
Dental care for your pet will likely require a combination of at home measures such as diet changes and tooth cleaning in conjunction with a scale and polish, just like a human, at the veterinary hospital.
With good attention to your pets teeth you can expect them to be happy and healthy for longer and all with a winning smile!