Pet owners often consider veterinary dentistry a last resort that’s meant for emergencies. After all, what could something as seemingly cosmetic as cat or dog dental cleaning practices have to do with your pet’s well being? Besides, a little bad breath isn’t so bad. The truth is, however, your pet’s teeth can have a serious impact on its overall health. Leading veterinarians recognize that we can protect the health of your pet’s heart and numerous other internal organs with preventive veterinary dentistry measures.
Periodontal infections such as gingivitis in dogs or cats can spread harmful bacteria from the mouth to the heart, liver, and kidneys. Proactive dental care contributes to healthy organs by helping prevent oral disease. The American Veterinary Dental Society states that more than 70% of cats and 80% of dogs have signs of oral disease at just 3 years old. Such signs are less obvious than you may assume, and that endearing dog or cat breath or newly developed chewing habits—like dropping food while eating or swallowing without chewing—could point to complications from gingivitis or another oral disease. Other disease indicators include pawing at the mouth, listless behavior, and excessive drooling. Should you notice these symptoms, it’s time to see your veterinary dentist.
Now that you know what’s at stake for your friend, it’s clear waiting on a dental visit isn’t worth the wait. Let’s get your dog or cat scheduled for a dental cleaning and thorough dental exam before we’re fighting an existing dental condition.
FELINE GINGIVITIS VS. GINGIVITIS IN DOGS
Left untreated, however, gingivitis in dogs and cats leads to periodontitis, which is irreversible, though not uncontrollable. Periodontitis is an oral infection that occurs when deposits of calcium salts react with bacterial plaque, forming a hard brown or yellow tartar that together with gingivitis build up can soon lead to inflammation and infection of the deeper tissues surrounding teeth. Periodontitis can cause bleeding gums that eventually result in tooth loss as your pet’s gums recede.
Both gingivitis and periodontitis can be quite painful, so it is important to schedule regular cat and dog dental cleanings both at home and at your veterinary hospital. Cats are especially prone to painful tooth enamel resorption, which occurs at the gum line. Small breeds of dogs, certain breeds of cats, and all aging pets are at considerable risk of dental disease.
If a veterinary dentist has diagnosed your cat or dog with gingivitis or periodontitis, then schedule a professional dental cleaning. Deerfield offers sub-gingival scaling to remove bacteria that attack your pet’s gum line. General anesthesia is required for both cat and dog dental cleaning. Our veterinarians take safety precautions during dental cleanings and periodontal therapies by performing presurgical blood work on elderly patients, monitoring EKGs and oxygen levels, and by using gas anesthetics. To administer fluids and drugs more comfortably, we often place intravenous catheters.
Deerfield Veterinary Hospital uses digital dental x-rays to assess your pet’s tooth and oral health. Should your pet require gingival surgery or tooth extractions, we will perform the procedure during the dental cleaning to avoid multiple uses of anesthetics. After finally polishing your cat’s or dog’s teeth, we will prepare you for dental cleaning in home care.
CAT & DOG DENTAL CLEANING AT HOME
Pointing the bristles at about a 45-degree angle to your pet’s teeth, use small circular strokes and focus on the outside of the teeth. If your cat or dog resists the at-home dental cleaning at any point, never force things. Your pet may not recognize your concern and could instinctively bite due to fear of the toothbrush.
DOG TARTAR REMOVER & CAT TEETH CLEANING TOYS
Never let your dog chew cow hooves. Often mistaken for a good dog tartar remover, cow hooves are exceedingly hard and represent a primary cause of fractured or broken teeth. Instead, search for tartar removers that bear the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) seal of approval, and visit the VOHC website for a list of approved products. Deerfield veterinary dentists can also recommend effective gels, rinses, and sprays that promote oral health in cats and dogs.
While your Deerfield veterinary dentist loves to see your pets, we’d rather see them at the park than for a dental problem that requires a professional dental cleaning at our office. Keep up the at-home dental cleaning for fewer visits to Deerfield and for the overall health benefits it brings your four-legged pal!