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February is Dental Health awareness Month!

teethDENTAL DISEASE IN DOGS AND CATS

 

THE STAGES OF PERIODONTAL (DENTAL) DISEASE:              

STAGE 1:  Early Gingivitis (gum disease):  Changes here are reversible with dental treatment.

  • Inflammation (redness) of entire attached gum tissue
  • Unpleasant breath odor 

     

 

STAGE 2:  Early Periodontal Disease:  Changes here are reversible with dental treatment.

  • Moderate inflammation (redness) and occasional bleeding
  • Beginning “pocket” formation (loss of connection of the gum to the bone holding the teeth in place)

 

 

STAGE 3:  Moderate Periodontal Disease:  Changes here may be irreversible

  • Painful mouth begins at this stage.
  • Severe inflammation (redness) of gingival (gum tissue)
  • Deep pocket formation
  • Pus formation
  • Anaerobic bacteria cause repulsive breath odour and more advanced infection
  • Deeper pockets form

The bone that would hold the teeth in place has been eaten away by infection; teeth are now loose.  This will require oral surgery to extract the affected teeth. In advanced cases, so much bone can be eroded that the jaw can break and require orthopedic plating or wiring for repair.

 

 

STAGE 4:  Severe Periodontal Disease

  • Extreme pain at this point.
  • More loss of bone, more pocket formation and the teeth are very loose.
  • Overwhelming breath due to increased anaerobic bacterial growth
  • Pets may still be eating in Stage 4 but this does not mean they are not having oral pain.

 

SIGNS OF PAIN:

  • Often they hide their pain, but we compare it to the human experience – if we have dental disease it hurts!

 

 A DENTAL INFECTION CAN SPREAD TO OTHER ORGANS:

  • Inflamed gums deteriorate and bleed.  This gives bacteria a clear path to the bloodstream and vital organs.
  • Permanent damage can occur to the heart valves, kidneys, liver and lungs.

 

 HOW TO PREVENT DENTAL DISEASE:

  • Nothing can replace daily brushing and we carry a number of different flavoured toothpastes as well as different sized toothbrushes.  Ask one of our team members to help you choose the best toothpaste and toothbrush for your pet.  We do understand this is not always possible!  We have other products that will aid in dental care such as:
  • Water additives (Breathalyser), dental wipes (MaxiGuard Dental Wipes) and rinses/gels (Dentachlor) can be used to help decrease gingivitis. Dental Chews such as CET Veggiedent chews or Hill’s Dental Care Chews will aid in the prevention of plaque and tartar.
  • Hill’s T/D  or Healthy Advantage Oral diet can aid in the prevention of plaque and tartar formation. 

    Sometimes, no matter what is done to try to prevent dental disease, it will occur and a dental cleaning eventually will be required.  If this is the case, do it early on in the course of the dental disease to prevent tooth loss.  Just like some people, some pets require annual and sometimes semi-annual preventative dental cleanings.

     

    **All of the products mentioned above (and others) are available for purchase at Peterborough West Animal Hospital.  Please ask one of our knowledgeable team members for their help.

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