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February is National Pet Dental Health Month

January 23, 2013

Perhaps one of the most neglected items of dog and cat general health care and maintenance is care of the teeth – Dentistry.


Veterinarians are frequently asked why a pet has such a foul odor emanating from its mouth.  In almost all cases, an oral examination reveals dental problems.


After a pet is a few years of age, tartar begins to accumulate and build up at the junction of its gums and teeth.  If this tartar is not periodically removed by your veterinarian, it increases, becoming heavier and heavier, eventually undermining the tissue and causing receding gums.  The area then becomes an excellent medium for inflammation and bacterial infection, which, of course, causes the foul odor as well as a constant unsavory taste.  If not attended to, severe gum infections, abscessed teeth and cheek ulcers may soon develop.


As a concerned pet owner, you should be aware that chronic infections of the teeth and gums can result in the same complicating problems in dogs and cats as in human beings.  These include diseases of the liver, kidney and the heart, as well as contributing to the development of arthritis and other functional disturbances.


Miniature and toy breeds exhibit dental problems more frequently and much earlier in life than do the larger breeds.  Cats also produce dental tartar and subsequent gingivitis.  Felines appear to have more sensitive gums than dogs and, as a result of poor dental conditions, will stop eating, show weight loss and nutritional disturbances.


As in people, pets require periodic teeth cleaning.  Preventive medicine is always better than treating a resultant infection.  It is strongly recommended that dentistry become an essential part of your pet’s total health care plan with periodic examination of the teeth and gums.

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