PERIODONTAL DISEASE IN DOGS AND CATS

Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection of the gums which is a very serious problem in cats and dogs. Periodontal disease results in the early loss of teeth in your pet. Some pets are more susceptible to it than others. The pet with periodontally involved loose and infected teeth may be very uncomfortable; as well, other organs of the body may be at risk for spread of infection from the mouth. Periodontal disease can be prevented by periodic scaling and polishing of the teeth, particularly at and under the gumline, to remove the deposits (plaque and calculus or tartar) that accumulate on the tooth and root surfaces. Once periodontal disease is present it is never cured but can be managed with several treatment methods in addition to the scaling and cleaning of the teeth. Treatment of your pet may include one or more of the following procedures to assess the level of health, and to treat the infection.

 

Intraoral radiographs are taken to evaluate the degree of periodontal bone loss, root abnormalities or infection.

 

Root planing and gingival curettage are performed to clean an d smooth the root surfaces in areas of pocket formation and to remove diseased tissue from pockets.

 

Oral surgery to remove excessive gingival tissue, allow access to deep pockets to clean the roots completely and remove damaged bone, or to remove abnormal gingival attachments may be necessary to save your pets teeth. More extensive procedures such are bone grafting, gingival grafting and splinting of loose teeth can be done in certain cases to help maintain oral health and function.

 

Extractions. Unfortunately, removing badly diseased teeth may be the best treatment for some pets. Dogs have 42 teeth and cats have 30. They can do quite well with a few missing teeth. Even with the loss of numerous teeth many pets will function quite normally and will be happier and healthier with painful, infected teeth eliminated.

 

Prevention of Periodontal disease is the best treatment and this requires periodic scaling and polishing of the teeth under general anesthesia, home care (brushing, rubbing or rinsing the teeth) to reduce the daily bacterial accumulations of plaque, along with chewing exercise on hard food or biscuits and safe chew toys. Chew toys should be selected carefully as many pets will crack their large chewing teeth if they get to vigorous with rawhide bones, nylonbones or knuckle bones.

DENTAL HEALTH PROGRAM FOR YOUR PET

Dental disease is one of the most common problems seen in our pet population today. Between 85% - 90% of all dogs and cats, over the age of 18 months of age, presented to veterinarians are affected by some degree of PERIODONTAL DISEASE (gum disease associated with plaque and tartar). Especially the smaller breeds, and those with short faces.

PERIODONTAL DISEASE causes destruction of the bone supporting the teeth. Bad breath and tooth loss are a common result. Also, the process involves bacteria which can spread to other areas of the animals body (kidney, liver, heart).

Our petís teeth must be kept healthy in exactly the same manner are our own. Mechanical removal of plaque is the only way to prevent dental disease from affecting our petís mouths. Brushing their teeth is the most effective way to maintain a healthy mouth.

 

RECCOMMENDATIONS FOR HOME DENTAL CARE:

 

WHEN TO START? AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. 8-12 weeks old is the best. Petís donít need maintenance this young, but by brushing once or twice weekly, they will be familiar with the routine when the permanent teeth erupt.

The first step is to work with your petís mouth. With a little patience, your pet will soon accept your attention. MAKE IT FUN for both of you. Use a lot of love and praise to gain their confidence. Start by handling the mouth, and soon you will be able to rub the teeth and gums with your finger. Put a few drops of water flavored with garlic or garlic powder, or CET flavored tooth paste in the mouth daily. They will soon look forward to this "treat".

Next, use a washcloth or a gauze sponge to scrub the teeth.

Finally, introduce one of the many toothbrushes designed for pets, or a soft (childís) brush to brush the teeth. Brushing the tongue side of the teeth is usually unnecessary. Use the garlic water or CET paste - MAKE IT A GAME! The pastes help, but REMEMBER, THE BRUSHING DOES MOST OF THE CLEANING.

BRUSHING AT LEAST TWICE WEEKLY IS RECCOMMENDED - daily is much better, and easily accomplished if combined with normal feeding times. Brush prior to feeding, so that the meal becomes the treat reward for your petís cooperation.

Mechanical cleansing is assisted by abrasive foods and toys such as dry kibble and chew toys (gumabone type).

DO NOT FEED ANY REAL BONES. HARD NYLON OBJECTS, OR COW HOOVES MAY CAUSE TEETH TO FRACTURE.

The above care will greatly improve you r petís dental health, and will reduce the need for dental prophylactics.

 

THANK YOU FOR LETTING US HELP MAINTAIN YOUR PETíS HEALTH.

 

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