Dental Care for your pet is very important here at the Animal Hospital Center and Mountain Mobile Veterinary Services
~~As a veterinarian for many years here in the Vail Valley, I have been fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to see a lot of pets , which has allowed me to become familiarized with some of the more common problems pets have, as they come to my office for their routine or even emergency pet visits. One of the more common issues pets face is dental issues.
Did you know that pets need routine dental care just like you do? A common misconception of pet owners is that pets do not require dental care . This is not true!
Both dogs and cats are very prone to many different types of dental problems,
And the first step in assuring your pet has good dental health is a visit to your veterinarian for a dental examination.
One of the more common clinical conditions affecting dogs and cats in periodontal disease. By three years of age, most dogs and cats have some evidence of periodontal disease, and other than perhaps detecting bad breath, you may not even know your pet has it. IF left untreated, dental disease can lead to systemic disease in your pet and cause damage to internal organs as your pet ages. What happens often with pets is that they develop a substance called “ plaque” on their teeth and with the minerals in your pets saliva, the plaque can become hardened, and allow damage to begin to the underlying teeth, as well as allow bacteria to set in . Without routine cleaning,
Infections under the plaque and eventual decay go unnoticed before it’s too late
And subsequent problems arise.
Another common clinical condition affecting dogs and cats is fractured teeth.
Initally, you many only notice that there is a slight crack in the enamel of a tooth and over time, the tooth becomes discolored, the gum perhaps swollen, and then an abscess can occur. Once the enamel layer of the tooth is damaged, unwanted bacteria can get into the underlying layers of the tooth and result in pain and infection.
During your pet’s veterinary visit, your veterinarian can identify if there are fractures in the teeth, and if the enamel can indeed be repaired, or if the tooth will need to be extracted.
In addition to periodontal disease and fractured teeth, cats can develop something called “resorptive lesions.” These are actual “holes” in the teeth at the gum line, which are actual areas of decay and if left untreated, can become painful to the cat. These are what we refer to as “cavities” in cats. Cats, compared to dogs, have a moderately higher amount of bacteria in their mouth, and as teeth decay and there is potential for systemic infection, this can become an emergent situation for your pet. Thus, it is just as important for cat owners as it is for dog owners to have a dental exam done, at least on a yearly basis.
Oral cancers are also common in dogs and cats, and it is during those routine exams that we as veterinarians examine under a pets tongue, in the back of the mouth, roof of the mouth and along the gum lines for any unusual growths. Once identified, the faster these lesions can be biopsied and diagnosed, the quicker your pet can get the appropriate treatment.
There are many types of dental issues, and we have only touched on a few, but as a veterinarian, I cannot emphasize enough how important that annual check up with your veterinarian can be in identifying any type of oral pathology.
Your veterinarian may recommend a full cleaning, during which your pet’s teeth are ultrasonically cleaned and professionally polished, followed by a detailed probing of all the teeth to check for intial evidence of “pockets” and damaged teeth.
In the past few years, Dental radiography has become increasingly popular, as we are able to identify problem areas in your pet’s mouth far before you see it visually.
Dental care in pets has continued to advance to a high level, and thru the help of your veterinarian, you can give your pet a longer , happier, and healthier life by starting with
A good dental program!