At Amigo Animal Clinic we are passionate about pet dental health. Dental health is an essential part of your pet’s overall health and when neglected, can lead to more serious health issues for your pet.
Dental Health Month
February is National Pet Dental Health Month. The AVMA created this month-long event to help raise awareness and promote the importance of pet dental health. Sometimes a problem is difficult to notice, and you find it when it’s too late, with your pet already in discomfort to the point where they have stopped eating.
Why Dental Health is Important
Proper dental care will help keep your pet from developing a wide variety of dental health issues, such as periodontal disease caused by bacteria buildup in the mouth. For a simple explanation of how dental problems develop in pets, watch our video: The Importance of Getting Your Pet’s Teeth Cleaned
Pets can also suffer from broken teeth. Chewing on hard toys and treats like antlers and bones can break your dog or cat’s teeth. A broken tooth can expose the tooth’s nerve, which is very painful for your pet. Additionally, the exposed nerve can become infected requiring your vet to remove the tooth.
Furthermore, research has linked periodontal disease as contributing to diseases of the organs, too, particularly in the liver, kidneys, and heart.
Small Animal Dentistry with Digital Radiography
At Amigo, we perform a comprehensive oral exam. We also advise you on how to keep your pet’s mouth healthy and pain-free well into their golden years. Our professional teeth cleaning, performed under general anesthesia, includes full mouth x-rays, complete cleaning & polishing, and a full oral exam.
Signs of Dental Problems
Regardless of any problems, you should bring your pet in for a professional dental check and cleaning at least once a year. This will help keep your pet’s teeth and gums healthy and we can also detect early signs of a problem.
Get your pet’s teeth checked sooner if you observe any of the following problems:
- Bad breath
- Broken or loose teeth
- Extra teeth or retained baby teeth
- Teeth that are discolored or covered in tartar
- Abnormal chewing, drooling or dropping food from the mouth
- Reduced appetite or refusal to eat
- Pain in or around the mouth
- Bleeding from the mouth
- Swelling in the areas surrounding the mouth
Some pets become irritable when they have dental problems. Any changes in your pet’s behavior should prompt a visit to your veterinarian. Be careful when checking your pet’s mouth because pain can cause a pet to react aggressively.
Home Dental Care
In between bringing your animal to the veterinarian for dental care, you can do some things to help at home.
- Brush their teeth. Brushing your pet’s teeth may seem extreme, but it is hugely beneficial for them. In an ideal world, you would brush your pet’s teeth twice a day. If you can’t manage twice a day, do it as often as you can. As a note, never use your toothpaste on them. There are specific kinds of toothpaste made for pets such as Virbac C.E.T toothpaste. It comes in different pet flavors such as poultry, seafood, and beef. Also, brushing a dog or cat’s teeth is not the same as brushing your own teeth. Here is a great video from the AVMA on brushing your pet’s teeth.
- Use tooth wipes. Tooth wipes are a faster and easier solution than brushing their teeth, although slightly less effective.
- Give them dental treats/chews. There are many treats and chew toys that you can buy for your pet that help remove plaque and improve dental health. If you are unsure what you should get for your pet, consult with your veterinarian.
Feline Juvenile Gingivitis
Feline Juvenile Gingivitis refers to inflammation of the gums that occurs following the eruption of the permanent teeth. This condition is most frequently observed in kittens of oriental breeds. Patients suffering from juvenile gingivitis have redness, swelling, and inflammation of their gum tissue (gingiva). The cause of this disease is not known but an exaggerated inflammatory response to tooth eruption, immune-mediated and viral exposure (FIV, FeLV, Calicivirus) have all been proposed as triggers, many authors believe it is likely a multifactorial response.
Untreated juvenile gingivitis can lead to juvenile periodontitis. In this case, pockets between the gums and teeth may form, providing more space for bacteria to accumulate near the bone. With this additional buildup, the immune system goes into overdrive, attacking the teeth and gums and causing bone loss.
See your veterinarian as soon as possible for treatment if you suspect that your kitten is suffering from juvenile gingivitis.
Your pet’s health and well-being are our top priority. Pets are important members of our life, so why not give them the best possible care? Amigo Animal Clinic is a full-service veterinary practice bringing small, large, and all animals in between the highest level of procedures, treatments, and surgeries. If your pet needs a dental health examination or treatment in the area of Grand Junction, contact us to schedule an appointment.
Dr. Dominic Carrica DVM
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