It’s Pet Dental Health Month!
Dental Disease in Dogs & Cats
Author: Ernest Ward, DVM
Dental disease is one of the most common medical conditions seen by veterinarians. Approximately two-thirds of cats over three years of age have some degree of dental disease. The most common problems are due to periodontal disease, gingivitis and cervical neck lesions, also called oral resorptive lesions. Over 68% of all dogs over the age of three are estimated to have some form of periodontal or dental disease. Few pets show signs of dental disease. It is up to the pet’s family and veterinarian to uncover this hidden and often painful condition.
What causes dental disease?
The most common cause of dental disease is tartar and calculus accumulation on the teeth. The tooth surfaces are a home to thousands of bacteria that multiply and produce a layer of plaque. Some of this plaque is naturally removed during eating or by the action of the pet’s tongue. However, the remaining plaque quickly mineralizes, forming tartar and calculus. The bacterial products and decaying food stuck to tartar are one potential cause of bad breath.
Tartar is easily identified by its tan or brown color. It normally starts at the gum edge, especially on the back teeth called the premolars and molars. In severe cases, tartar and calculus may cover the entire tooth.
The accumulation of tartar and bacteria on the tooth surfaces leads to infection and gingivitis or inflammation of the gums. If the disease is caught at an early stage and a thorough veterinary dental scaling and polishing performed, most of the teeth and gums will have a full recovery. However, if gingivitis is allowed to persist untreated, then irreversible periodontal disease will occur. Periodontal disease is an inflammation or infection of the bone and ligaments that support the tooth; as it progresses these tissues are destroyed, leading to excessive tooth mobility and eventual tooth loss. Bacteria can spread deep into the tooth socket creating an abscess or even more severe problems such as osteomyelitis.
Once periodontal disease starts the degenerative changes to the tooth and its support structures cannot be reversed. These changes make it easier for more plaque and tartar to collect, resulting in further disease.
Can tartar be prevented?
Plaque becomes mineralized in some dogs much quicker than in others.
The best way to prevent tartar build-up is regular home care, particularly tooth brushing using toothpaste that is specifically designed to be swallowed. Special dog chew toys and pet treats may help reduce or delay tartar build-up. Some pet foods have been specifically formulated as dental diets that mechanically assist in plaque removal. We recommend Hill’s t/d. However, once tartar has formed, it will be necessary to remove it by professional scaling and polishing under general anesthesia.
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A HUGE thank-you to all our clients & patients who attending our Christmas Pet Photo Shoot Fund-Raiser. With your help we raised $331.50 for our 4 charitable groups during this Holiday season. Your generosity warms our hearts. For pictures of the day please visit our website or join us on Facebook!
An Update from Simon
Hello from Australia!!
Australia is amazing and as good as everyone says; the weather is beautifully warm and sunny (though a bit humid) and there’s tons of interesting birds and animals all over the place. The campus I’m on has man-made lakes on it that is home to thousands of birds, ducks, and turtles. The campus is huge. It takes at least 25 minutes to walk across it and the buildings are very classy – a lot of soapstone and sandstone. I haven’t had a chance to upload pictures but will do soon! I’ll be sure to send some your way. Hope you all had a great Christmas and New Years!
All the best,
IMPORTANT NOTICE REGARDING LICENCE FEES IN MISSISSAUGA
As of January 1, 2010 the City of Mississauga Animal Services will no longer be selling Life Time licenses. They will be returning to annual tags only. Existing Life Time licenses will be honoured and Life Time replacement tags will still be available.
Reminder for the purchases of licences.
Please note that all cats and dogs must be licensed when the pet is acquired. There is not a 6 month grace period given.
For more information please visit their website:
IMPORTANT UPDATE ON FECAL EXAMINATION SERVICES
The Companion Animal Parasite Control Council (CAPC) recommends that fecal examinations in dogs and cats are administered two to four times during the first year of life and one to two times per year in adults.
Many intestinal parasites present health risks not only to pets, but also to people. “People in contact with animals that may transmit zoonotic parasites should be advised of the risks and made aware that risks are increased by pregnancy, underlying illness, or immunosuppression.” – CAPC General Guidelines
Parasite control starts with identification!
Did you Know?
The average age for an indoor cat is 15 years, while the average age for an outdoor cat is only 3 to 5 years.
People who own pets live longer, have less stress, and have fewer heart attacks.
If your cat misses one meal, a trip to the vet may be necessary.