Periodontal Disease is Killing Our Pets

Periodontal Disease reduces the quality and length of life for our pets.

Dental disease is a common problem of dogs, cats, and ferrets. Most of our dogs, cats and ferrets actually suffer from periodontal disease. 85% percent of our dogs, cats and ferrets have periodontal disease by the time they are three years old. The symptoms depend on the severity of disease. Early stages includes: bad breath, discolored teeth, and swollen gums that may bleed easily. Later stages include all the early symptoms but may also result in permanent damage: loose teeth, tooth loss, and the spread of infections to internal organs. The fact that heart disease, kidney disease, and liver disease all may be the result of an untreated, ongoing periodontal problem is a major concern. Many people want to delay teeth cleaning for various reasons. However, for the sake of your pet’s health and comfort, periodontal disease is a threat that should not be ignored.

Periodontal disease begins when a slimy film known as plaque (a mixture of bacteria and food) builds on the tooth surface where it works its way under the gum line. Toxins and by-products released by the bacteria cause a reaction that leads to tissue and bone destruction. Over time these bacteria enter the bloodstream and affect vital organs such as the heart, heart valves, liver, and kidneys, which in turn can result in organ failures, joint infection, spinal cord infection, and brain infection. Not only is your pet dealing with infection, pain, and loss of dental structure in the mouth, but now it has extended into the rest of the body. We commonly see these problems in middle age to older patients.

We recommend a three pronged approach to prevent periodontal disease for the best results.

  • Regular home care will help prevent the formation of plaque and tartar.
  • Dental radiographs reveal hidden disease that cannot be assessed on visual examination.

We perform dental examinations on dogs, cats, and ferrets by one year of age looking for

  • Missing teeth (which often are impacted teeth, not missing but hidden under the gums)
  • Retained teeth (baby teeth not lost and competing for the same space as the permanent tooth which cause damage and premature loss of teeth)
  • Rotated teeth (trapping food creating early periodontal disease).
  • Overbite or underbite (often associated with teeth causing damage and pain to gums)
  • Narrow base canines (causing pain and damage to the roof of the mouth)
  • Broken teeth (open avenues for bacteria to immediately invade the body)

In addition to basic dental cleaning, we have received additional training to offer periodontal surgery, oral surgery, endodontics (root canals save major teeth) and interceptive.

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