Cats and dogs are very dependent on their mouths as a way to eat, play, vocalize and pick up objects. For this reason, their oral health is very important. In this post, our Santa Claritavet will discuss 5 dental conditions that affect dogs and cats.
There are many issues that your beloved pet can face but one of the most common issues is with their oral health. Some signs of oral health issues in pets include:
- Red or swollen gums
- Bad breath
- Difficulty eating or not eating at all
- Difficulty picking up toys or food
- Plaque build-up on the surface of the teeth
We have compiled a list of 5 conditions that affect cats and dogs. This list is not exhaustive which is why we always recommend taking your pet for annual dental exams.
This condition affects dogs, cats, and even humans. You may know it by its other name gum disease. Gingivitis is caused when plaque, a substance that is primarily comprised of bacteria, is allowed to grow unimpeded in the mouth causing an infection in the gum. There can be several factors that contribute to this disease such as diet, unclean toys, and misaligned teeth, but the major issue is oral hygiene.
With the gums infected there is a risk that the infection can enter the bloodstream leading to illness around the body.
The way to avoid gingivitis is to brush your pet's teeth and routine dental appointments.
Periodontitis is a more advanced version of gingivitis. It is where the plaque has hardened into tartar and has often extended below the gum line and is starting the penetrate the underlying bone structure. The prevention of this disease is similar to those of gingivitis. The major difference is that the structural integrity of the jaw bone has been put at risk leading to the possibility of needing to extract teeth. Your pet may also lose some bone mass in their jaw.
While their diet should not be high in sugars, making it less common than in their owners, a pet can still get cavities where bacteria have managed to penetrate the enamel and eat away the tooth.
If you suspect your pet has a cavity please take them to the vet to have it looked at so the issue can be dealt with before it spreads to other teeth.
Oral trauma or fractured tooth
A lot of play involves your pet's mouth which put them at risk of biting down on something and receiving an injury. While pet parents can’t completely stop the issue we can minimize the risk by:
- Picking toys that are made of materials that shouldn’t damage their teeth.
- Removing damaged toys that have broken and may have sharp edges.
- Picking size-appropriate toys to avoid excessive strain on their teeth.
If you see that your dog or cat has an injury in their mouth or has a broken tooth we recommend you speak with your vet as soon as possible.
Tumors often come in two forms benign and malignant. Benign oral tumors are often not cancerous but can cause discomfort for your pet. Malignant tumors are typically cancerous and require immediate attention because of their life-threatening nature. We recommend not missing your annual wellness exam so your vet can screen your pet and can have a chance at catching the issue early to have a better chance at treatment.
Your pet's oral health is important. If you can, we recommend brushing your pet's teeth with specially designed toothpaste for your pet. Some pets will not tolerate their teeth being touched, so ask your veterinarian for any recommendations for your specific pet to aid them in keeping their mouth healthy. Do not skip their annual checkup or dental exam. If you see an issue such as the symptom listed above talk to your vet.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.