Bathurst Feature Topic
Every month, the staff at Bathurst Animal Hospital decide on current topics pertaining to animal care and health, that we think our clients would like to know more about. Our goal is to help educate our clients on issues that directly affect them and their pet.
This month’s feature topic is Oral Health.
Bad Breath. Big Problem.
Bad breath is one of the first signs of oral health problems in pets.
Emerging science suggests a strong link between good oral health and heart and kidney health.
– More than 85% of dogs and cats older than 4 years have periodontal disease.
– Periodontal disease starts when plaque forms; plaque is a transparent adhesive fluid. Plaque starts forming two days after dental cleaning. If the plaque is not removed, mineral salts in the food can precipitate to form hard dental calculus. The calculus is irritating to the gums. This changes the pH of the mouth and allowing bacteria to survive under the gingiva (gums).
– By-products of these bacteria “eat away” at the tooth’s support structures, eventually causing severe tooth damage and even loss. If left untreated, periodontal disease can cause severe pain, which most pets try to hide. It can also negatively affect your pet’s vital organs such as kidneys, heart and liver because the irritated bleeding gums allow bacteria from plaque to enter the bloodstream.
Signs of Periodontal Disease Include:
– Accumulation of visible tartar on the tooth surfaces
– Redness of the gums
– Swelling/bleeding of the gums
– Receding gum line
– Root exposure
– Tooth mobility
Symptoms of Periodontal Disease Include:
– Anorexia or weight loss
– Changes in behaviour (for example, less playful or eating/chewing more slowly)
– Chewing more on one side of the mouth
– Resistance to having the mouth handled
Stages of Periodontal Disease
Stage One: A soft, sticky film called plaque forms in the mouth. Plaque consists of food debris, bacteria, and saliva.
Stage Two: If plaque is not removed, a hard material called tartar may begin to form. Tartar can irritate the gums and further encourage the growth of plaque.
Stage Three: If both plaque and tartar are allowed to build up, this can lead to gingivitis, causing painful inflammation along the gum line.
Stage Four: Left untreated, gingivitis will eventually lead to periodontal disease, which can cause pain, tooth loss and severe infection.
Steps to Better Oral Health:
Regular Checkups: Just as people should have regular checkups by their dentists, pets need annual checkups too. Some pets form tartar quicker than others, these pets need more frequent exams and more frequent professional cleanings.
Daily Brushing: Daily brushing is paramount in providing proper oral care to your pet. Daily brushing removes plaque before it mineralizes into tartar, which undoubtedly reduces plaque build-up.
Diet: For pets who might be difficult to brush their teeth, there are diets available to help slow down the accumulation of plaque on the teeth.
Hill’s® Prescription Diet® t/d® Canine is a complete and balanced food that provides all the nutrition dogs need.
It’s unique kibble helps scrub away plaque off teeth to promote systemic health
It is clinically proven to reduce plaque, stain and tartar buildup
Helps reduce bad breath
Added antioxidants to control cell oxidation and promote a healthy immune system
For more information visit: www.vspn.org
For more information visit: www.petdental.ca