Every dog or cat owner knows the joy and companionship pets bring. However, caring for our fluffy friends requires more than playtime and cuddles; it also involves understanding their health needs, particularly their dental health. Dental disorders are common in pets and can lead to painful conditions or severe systemic issues.
Here’s a guide to these disorders, treatment options, and preventive measures.
Prevalence of Dental Disorders in Pets
Dental disorders are rarely visible until they get severe, leading to statistics showing that 80% of dogs and 70% of cats develop oral and dental diseases by the age of three. The rise in dental claim submissions from pet insurers further enforces this significance. This magnifies the importance of regular dental check-ups for our pets to maintain good oral health and deter potential dental problems.
Common Dental Conditions in Dogs and their Remedies
1. Periodontitis, Tooth Infection, Cavity, and Abscess
Periodontitis is inflammation and infection of the ligaments and bones supporting teeth. Pets with periodontitis may experience pain, bad breath, and tooth loss. Treatment depends on the severity of the disease. In the early stages, professional cleaning and antibiotics can be effective, while tooth extraction may be necessary in severe cases.
2. Oral Trauma or Fractured Tooth
Oral injuries can occur in accidents or during rough play. If a tooth is fractured and exposes the tooth pulp, it becomes susceptible to infection and can cause pain. Treatment normally involves removal or root canal therapy.
3. Benign Oral Tumor
Dental tumors in dogs can be noncancerous (benign) or cancerous (malignant). Benign tumors can still create unease and interfere with your pet’s eating ability. They need to be removed surgically; in most cases, the dog recovers fully post-operation.
Gingivitis involves inflammation of the gums and is usually the result of accumulated plaque or tartar. Regular professional dental cleanings and home dental care can help prevent and treat gingivitis in your pet.
Deciduous Teeth Complications
Deciduous teeth, often called ‘baby teeth,’ normally fall out as permanent teeth develop in puppies. Sometimes, these baby teeth don’t fall out and can cause discomfort or difficulty eating. Veterinarians typically recommend extraction during neutering or spaying procedures.
Common Dental Conditions in Cats and their Remedies
1. Periodontitis, Tooth Infection, Cavity, or Abscess
Cats can suffer from periodontitis, tooth infections, cavities, and abscesses like dogs. Regular veterinary dental cleaning and check-ups and daily tooth brushing at home can help treat and prevent these conditions.
Cats can develop gingivitis without any other dental disease present. This condition, known as non-resorptive gingivitis, can be particularly severe and may require medication to control inflammation and damage.
3. Tooth Resorption
Tooth resorption is a common dental problem in cats, affecting nearly 75% of cats over five. The condition involves the disappearance of parts of the tooth, beginning at the enamel and continuing toward the tooth’s interior. The cause is not well understood, but it can cause severe pain and usually requires extraction.
4. Oral Trauma or Fractured Tooth
Accidents or fights can create oral trauma or fractured teeth in cats. For fractured teeth, root canal therapy or extraction is usually recommended. Oral trauma may also require surgery, dependent on severity.
5. Ulcerative Stomatitis
Ulcerative Stomatitis is a condition in which severe inflammation and ulcers form in a cat’s mouth, causing extreme pain. Treatment for this condition usually requires full mouth teeth extractions to relieve the cat. In severe cases, some dental disorders may require veterinary dental surgery.
For example, pets suffering from oral tumors or severe periodontitis might need oral surgical procedures. Many veterinary clinics offer their pet surgical services tailored to ensure your pet’s comfort and quick recovery.
Importance of Routine Dental Care for Pets
Regular dental care for pets prevents oral diseases and helps in early detection, leading to less complicated and expensive treatments. A good dental care regime involves several simple yet effective practices.
1. Regular Brushing
Just like humans, pets also require regular teeth cleaning. Brushing your pet’s teeth might sound challenging, but it can become part of your daily routine with a little practice and patience. Consistent brushing helps remove plaque before it turns into tartar, the harder substance that leads to gum disease.
2. Dietary Considerations
Diet plays an essential role in a pet’s dental health. Always consult with a vet about the right food choices for your pet. Some pet foods have been specifically designed to keep your pet’s teeth clean. Chew toys or dental chews can serve dual purposes; they entertain your pet and clean their teeth and gums, promoting good oral health.
3. Regular Vet Check-ups
Regular vet check-ups are essential because the dental disease often starts where you can’t see it – below the gum line. A specialized dog dentist is trained to spot potential issues and can provide professional cleaning as necessary. They can also guide you on maintaining good oral health between check-ups.
4. Oral Health Supplements
Certain supplements can help maintain excellent oral hygiene for your pets. These supplements can be added to a pet’s water or food to reduce plaque and freshen your pet’s breath.
5. Regular Tooth Inspection
Regular inspection of your pet’s teeth by you can also help spot any changes early. Red flags include bad breath, red or swollen gums, decreased appetite, and changes in chewing habits.
Why Choose a Reputable Veterinary Facility
Finding a reliable and reputable veterinary facility is important when considering your pet’s dental health. Consider facilities like the River Hills pet care hospital, known for its exemplary pet healthcare services. They offer affordable dental check-ups and recommend timely preventive measures to help maintain your pet’s dental health.
Pets are a wonderful addition to our lives, but it’s clear their health, particularly dental health, needs routine attention and care. Understanding common dental disorders can help us detect signs early and provide our pets with the best care. The adage holds: prevention is better than cure. We must ensure they lead happy, healthy lives full of purrs and wagging tails.