Four out of five dogs and cats over the age of three years have some form of dental disease.
The level of dental disease will often progress and become more severe with age. This can become a real problem for your pet and is not only uncomfortable for them but can lead to more serious health concerns.
Dental care is not only important for dogs and cats, but also smaller pets such as rabbits and guinea pigs. Our pets may not show signs that they’re suffering from dental issues and so it is often missed or forgotten about by owners, who are otherwise very proactive about their pet’s health.
Periodontal disease, which is a bacterial infection of the mouth, is easily preventable and is one of the most common problems that veterinarians diagnose in Australian pets. If it goes untreated, it will often lead to the requirement of severely affected teeth to be removed and can lead to other serious health problems such as infections in the kidneys, heart and liver.
In its early stages, it’s a disease that is reversible. However, it can often go undetected till it is quite severe as pets often won’t show signs of pain. Even pets with sore gums, an infected mouth or broken teeth will continue to eat. They need to eat to survive so may not go off their food until the pain in unbearable. This is definitely not something we won’t to put our pets through when it can be avoided.
Signs of periodontal disease to look out for include:
tartar build up on teeth
swollen, reddened or bleeding gums
reluctance to eat harder foods
evidence of pus near the gums
If you notice any of these signs in your pet it is best to get into contact and have us examine your pet’s teeth. We will score your pets periodontal disease based on the severity of the disease. The higher the grade, the more severe the disease is.
With increasing severity of the disease, the more likely it is for your pet to require extractions of teeth and to suffer secondary health problems elsewhere in the body.
Veterinarians conducting an oral exam during your pet’s routine annual check-up can help identify any emerging dental health issues. To provide optimal health and quality of life for your pet, good oral care is vitally important. These annual checks are an ideal opportunity for you to find out if your pet has an existing problem that has gone unnoticed.
It is important to note, however, that when a pet opens its mouth, only some parts of the gum and teeth are visible. This makes some aspects of dental disease difficult to detect. Sometimes a veterinarian may recommend investigating your pet’s dental health further, which will require general anaesthesia and even dental x-rays. During this time, they will be able to remove any severely affected teeth and thoroughly clean and polish all others.