periodontal disease in petsBad breath is so common in pets that most of us accept it as a normal part of life. In reality, halitosis in pets is not normal and that doggy or kitty breath you’ve come to expect may be signaling the onset of periodontal disease.

Periodontal disease in pets is a serious issue that affects up to 85% of all dogs and cats by the time they reach 3 years of age. Fortunately, it’s never too late to take charge of your pet’s dental health! Your team at Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital is here for you every step of the way.

What Is Periodontal Disease in Pets?

When plaque and tartar are left on the teeth, they will eventually develop periodontal disease, which is defined as inflammation of some or all of the supportive structures of the teeth. Some of the red flag symptoms of periodontal disease in pets include:

  • Foul breath
  • Swollen, red, or bleeding gums
  • Discolored teeth
  • Loose, broken, or lost teeth
  • Pain or discomfort while chewing
  • Excessive drooling
  • Pawing at the mouth
  • Loss of appetite

If left untreated, periodontal disease in pets can lead to extreme pain and/or bone or tooth loss. In some instances, bacteria from the mouth may enter the bloodstream and cause damage to vital organs, such as the heart, liver, or kidneys. Please schedule an appointment with us if you notice any of the above symptoms in your pet.

Prevention at Its Finest

Preventing periodontal disease in pets from ever developing is always preferable, but it’s possible to take control of existing problems with the following suggestions.

  • Wellness exams – Taking your pet to their annual or biannual wellness exams is an important part of preventive care and will alert us to potential problems early.
  • Professional cleanings – Most All pets will need professional cleanings under anesthesia to remove the calculus buildup that causes periodontal disease and to allow for a complete oral examination.
  • Home care – A commitment to daily toothbrushing is essential to the prevention of periodontal disease in pets (and it will keep that stinky breath at bay). Home care is not enough to avoid periodontal disease, however, and must be paired with annual or biannual regular dental cleanings.
  • Staying alert – You know your pet better than anyone else, and that knowledge can alert you to changes in behavior and appearance that may signal a problem.

Your pet’s health and vitality are our top priorities at Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with your questions or concerns, or to schedule an appointment for your pet.