Dental disease in pets: flip the lip!

Does your pet have dental disease? Dental or oral disease is one of the most common diseases in dogs and cats. Dental disease begins as plaque (the invisible film on teeth) and dental calculus (the visible mineral deposits). If plaque and calculus (tartar) are not routinely cleaned from your pet’s teeth, they can lead to gingivitis (inflammation of the gums), bad breath (halitosis) and ultimately to periodontal disease, which is a very painful condition that results in tooth and/or bone loss.

Pet owners should “flip the lip” of their pets, and look for signs of oral disease: does your pet have stinky breath? Does your precious pooch have red or swollen gums? Are your canine companion’s teeth yellow or brown? Are any teeth loose or missing? How is your dog’s appetite? Do they have trouble chewing bones?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, your pet probably has oral disease. If not treated early, mild oral disease invariably progresses to painful periodontal disease that results in loss of teeth. Recent evidence also suggests oral disease can lead to infections of vital organs such as the heart, kidneys and liver.

Our veterinary staff are highly trained in treating oral disease. By removing plaque and tartar, we can halt the progression of the disease before it starts causing pain and tooth loss. For those animals that present with advanced disease, we are able to take x-rays of affected teeth to determine whether they need to be extracted. We can also offer advice on how to prevent oral disease.

So please…flip the lip, look at your pet’s mouth, and call us if your pet shows any of the signs of dental disease outlined above.