Smelly breath, or halitosis, is one of the most common symptoms of dental disease in cats and dogs. Did you know that dental disease affects approximately 85% of dogs and cats over 3 years old? Tooth and gum problems are a common finding during our routine health checks, and often are not obvious to pet owners. Left untreated, dental disease can result in pain, tooth loss, and sometimes infections in other parts of the body. February is Pet Dental Health Month which aims to improve pet welfare, by highlighting the importance of regular dental examinations and treatment for pets. During this month Bishopton Vet Group will be offering free dental check-ups for your pet dog, cat or rabbit. If your pet does turn out to need a dental procedure then we are giving £10 off all dental procedures during February too.
Dental problems in our pets can be due to broken teeth, gum disease, or an accumulation of tartar with subsequent tooth decay. In many cases by the time dental disease is detected there’s little we vets can do other than remove the diseased teeth and clean the remaining healthy teeth. If we can detect dental problems earlier we can address the predisposing factors of dental disease and prevent tooth loss.
The best way to spot dental problems early is to have a thorough look at your pet’s teeth. This is often easier said than done, and if you have problems doing this then make a free appointment this month for a dental check-up. Things to look for include: –
- Gums that look red, swollen, or bleed
- Broken teeth that look irregular or sharp
- Tartar build up on the teeth, this usually appears as a brown or yellowish discoloration particularly on the canines and back teeth
- Halitosis (bad breath)
If you do notice any of these problems in your pet’s mouth, make an appointment for a dental check-up to assess the degree of dental disease. Generally, major tartar build up has to be removed by doing a ‘dental’. This procedure means a full scale and polish of the teeth using high-tech equipment very similar to that used in human dentistry. For our pets such procedures have to be performed under general anaesthetic to ensure their safety and co-operation. Each tooth can then be thoroughly assessed and unhealthy teeth extracted.
Once the teeth have been cleaned, we can look at preventative measures to try to avoid further build up. This can include changing your pet’s diet so the food they eat mechanically removes tartar, various dental chews, using antibacterial agents in their drinking water and, if your pet will allow, brushing their teeth. A good homecare regime is essential to prevent serious dental disease recurring in those individuals susceptible to problems.