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Top 3 Signs Your Pet Needs Dental Attention

by Dr. Ashley Woo

Bad breath

  • Just because Fluffy drinks out of the toilet doesn’t mean she should be suffering from bad breath.  Halitosis (bad breath) is a very common finding in our pets and is most commonly secondary to dental disease.

Bleeding gums

  • When you see blood on Rover’s toy after playing with it that can be a tell-tale sign that he is suffering from gum disease.  Just like people who don’t regularly floss, bleeding gums is a cardinal sign for gingivitis. That inflammation of the gums can be painful and cause further issues to the teeth and their roots.

Trouble eating

  • If you see your cat or dog dropping food, having difficulty chewing or even suffering from excessive drooling there is a high likelihood that they are suffering from dental disease.

Any of these above signs should encourage you to bring your pet to the vet promptly! At the vet, we can examine your pet’s oral cavity and assess what type of dental disease is present.

Common things seen during dental exams:

Calculus build up

  • That thick smelly plaque buildup on your pet’s teeth is also known as calculus. It is most commonly seen on the back upper big teeth. The best way of checking this is to lift up your pets lips on the side and check their molars. But it can also be found on their other teeth so it is important to check all the teeth during an exam.
  • This calculus is made up of bacteria that are populating your pet’s mouth. It can lead to infection of the gums and can even develop into painful abscesses!

Red gums

  • Just like us, it is abnormal to have red bleeding gums. Healthy gums should be pink and not bleed. Gingivitis (red, inflamed gums) is a painful disease and can be treated with good dental cleaning.
  • Neglecting these inflamed gums can predispose your pet to developing tooth root decay and may require tooth extractions.

Cat Cavities

  • Unfortunately for our feline friends, they are quite prone to developing dental disease, and they very commonly develop erosions on their teeth (resorptive lesions).  These erosions affect the neck of the teeth (closest to the gum line). If left untreated, the crown of the tooth can become eroded and the gum can over grow on the teeth.
  • Intervention is key to avoid severe dental pain! Bringing your cat in for a dental cleaning with possible extractions is the best way to give their mouth a chance.

Tooth root abscesses

  • Very commonly pets will come in to the vet to examine a swelling on the face. A lot of these swellings are related to tooth root abscesses. These are painful swellings in the mouth that are full of bacteria that have formed into an abscess that is now visible on the exterior of their face.
  • These abscesses can rupture which is very painful. They also risk spreading bacteria to the rest of the body. This is why it is so important to prevent this bacteria build up in the mouth before abscesses form!

Following a dental exam our staff would be happy to go over the next steps in treatment, whether it’s brushing teeth, adding in a dental diet, or coming in for a dental cleaning.

So please feel free to book a dental exam with us! As a special bonus they’re free during the months of February and March!

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