As you may have already heard, February is Pet Dental Health Month.
Did you know that many experts believe dental disease is the number one disease seen by veterinarians? Almost all adult dogs and cats have some form of it.
|Inflamed gums around fang & molars from plaque Photo: Marco d'Itri|
Tooth resorption sounds almost like an autoimmune disease: the cat’s own cells attack and wear away at his tooth until it is destroyed. The cause is unknown, though there is some speculation about it.
|Faraday: Wait. My toofs are attacking themselves???|
Periodontal disease in pets is the same as it is in humans: inflammation around the tooth where the gums pull away and form infected pockets that begin to break down the bone and connective tissue that holds teeth in place.
Needless to say…both are bad for your pet!
Why is this so? It’s odd, but we tend to forget that our mouth is connected to our body. Most people don’t consider that bacteria thriving in tooth decay can enter the bloodstream and infect critical organs such as the heart, liver or kidneys.
That’s true both for people and for pets.
In older cats especially, oral infections can have a damaging impact on the kidneys. And by the way, renal failure (kidney disease)? It's irreversible. Unlike humans, dialysis is not readily available as a treatment option for failing kidneys, and it's very difficult to administer. And though there have been successful kidney transplants in cats, it's expensive and comes with its own set of complications. Bottom line: help keep your cat's kidneys healthy by keeping his teeth healthy.
Good dental care isn’t that difficult if approached properly, and Dr. Jean Hofve of Little Big Cat has outlined a good five-step plan to get your cat used to daily brushing that works – if you commit to sticking with it. And there are additives you can put in your pet's drinking water that help fight plaque and are Veterinary Oral Health Care approved.
In addition, annual (and depending on the breed, sometimes twice-annual) professional cleaning can work to prevent major dental catastrophes down the line as your pet ages.
Have you ever scheduled a dental cleaning for your pet? Now might be an excellent time to do so, as many veterinarians offer discounts on routine cleaning during February, in honor of Pet Dental Heath Month.
Ours does, and I've taken advantage of that discount for both Faraday and Maxwell (much to their chagrin).
How is your pet's dental health?