We’re focusing on dental disease in February. But really, we focus on it every day.
Why so much concern about teeth in our pets? Because gingivitis, periodontal disease, and broken teeth are very common. All dogs and cats have teeth and gums used mainly for chewing and eating, but also for playing.
Gingivitis is a gum infection that comes about because of bacteria in the mouth. Bacteria and saliva together make plaque, and then plaque becomes calculus. The infection settles in for a while and eventually gingivitis becomes periodontitis, a deeper, more serious infection around the teeth. The gums become sore. Eating can be painful and more difficult and playing is not so fun anymore either.
These changes are insidious – they come on slowly – so slowly that we may not notice a big change in our pet’s appetite or how they feel. Pet owners often say, “My pet’s still eating and isn’t in pain at all”. It’s very seldom going to be the kind of pain that stops eating all together, but maybe he or she chews differently, eats slower, or now prefers wet food to dry. Many pets just get used to the pain. It becomes a new normal.
A broken tooth may be initially painful, but then it can go quiet until the bacteria travel up into the root and eventually form a tooth root abscess. Ouch.
If your cat or dog hasn’t had a check-up for a while, why wait? Your veterinarian and the whole team are trained to notice gum disease or other dental problems.
This February, let’s keep our pets smiling!