At Countryside Animal Hospital we believe good oral health is an important part of your pet's overall health. It’s estimated that 85 percent of all pets have periodontal disease by the time they are 3 years of age. Periodontal disease is a progressive disease of the supporting tissues surrounding teeth and the main cause of early tooth loss. Oral bacteria associated with periodontal disease can also result in damage to the kidneys, liver, and heart. A thorough oral examination should be performed by a veterinarian at least once per year, which is included in our annual wellness exam.
Consistent dental care at home is your pet's first line of defense against dental disease. Not only does it help to keep your pet's teeth clean and breath fresh, it can also prevent many of the painful conditions commonly seen. Brushing with a pet safe toothpaste, and/or using oral rinses and enzymatic water additives can go a long way to help with good dental health.
Most pets with painful dental conditions don't usually show obvious signs to their owners, but this doesn't mean that they aren't feeling pain, they just can't tell you about it. In the wild, animals hide signs of illness or discomfort as a means of survival- domestic dogs and cats also posses this instinct.
Signs of oral and dental diseases and discomfort in dogs and cats:
- Bad breath
- Loose, broken or discolored teeth
- Red gums
- Brown tartar on teeth
- Drooling or bleeding from the mouth
- Abnormal chewing, dropping food, refusal to chew treats, or play with toys
- Pet paws at the mouth or shies away from you when you touch the mouth area
- Loss of appetite or weight loss (These signs may also indicate other health problems as well, and should be discussed with a veterinarian)
- Swelling around the mouth/muzzle
A professional dental cleaning starts with a review of your pet's general health and previous dental history. For a safe and thorough dental cleaning for dogs and cats, general anesthesia is required*. This procedure includes scaling the teeth with an ultrasonic cleaner to remove tarter from above and below the gumline, polishing the teeth to remove surface scratches which can speed tartar buildup, and a fluoride treatment to help strengthen and protect tooth enamel. A thorough oral exam allows us to map problem areas, and determine the best treatment plan for your pet.
Teeth may need to be extracted if they are broken, loose, the root is exposed, or there are deep pockets of infection below the gumline. In some cases, such as with an otherwise healthy broken tooth, we can refer you to a Veterinary Dental Specialist for alternative treatments.
Call us today to find out about our dental package specials!
*The American Veterinary Medical Association, American Animal Hospital Association, and American Veterinary Dental College do not recommend dental cleanings without anesthesia, because they do not allow cleaning or inspection below the gumline where most dental disease occurs, and can result in injury to your pet or the person performing the procedure.