Do you avoid your dog or cat because they have halitosis breath? Bad breath is a sign that your pet may have a more serious condition known as periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease typically develops in a cat or dog by the age of three and could potentially cause irreversible damage to your pet’s gums and teeth. However, it doesn’t stop there. Periodontal disease can also cause other health problems. How do you know if your pet has this disease, and how can you prevent it from developing?
Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums that can destroy the jawbone. It’s caused by a buildup of tooth decay and bacteria. If you don’t regularly have your pet’s teeth cleaned, dental plaque can build up and harden into tartar. When bacteria and tartar are trapped beneath the gum line, a terrible cycle of damage and infection begins. Fortunately, your local vet will be able to identify this problem before it becomes too serious.
Symptoms of periodontal disease include difficulty eating, pain, bone loss, and tooth loss. When you notice your pet suffering from those types of symptoms, you need to call a vet for a sick exam and have your pet’s teeth checked.
Periodontal disease can cause life-threatening conditions with major organs such as the liver, heart, nervous system, and kidneys. Bacteria from your pet’s mouth can gain access to their bloodstream through a process known as bacteremia. Take your pet to a trusted animal hospital and speak with a vet concerning how you can keep your pet from suffering from periodontal disease.
One of the main signs of periodontal disease is bad breath. Your pet should not have disagreeable breath. The more periodontal disease progresses, it becomes harder for pets to chew their food and they may drool excessively.
Developing signs include pawing at the mouth or teeth, visible tartar or tooth discoloration, difficulty eating, loss of appetite or weight loss, drooling, discharge from their nose, missing or loose teeth, swelling beneath the eyes, and swollen, red, or bleeding gums.
There are four stages to periodontal disease: gingivitis, early periodontitis, established periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis. Your vet can evaluate the precise stage your pet may be in so they get the best treatment possible. Pets require a visual exam, x-rays, and further examination using instruments to measure any bone loss.
The type of treatment your pet needs depends on the severity of the disease. Gingivitis treatments include teeth cleaning, the application of fluoride, and polishing to assist with plaque accumulation. Other treatments for later stages include deep scaling and the application of local antimicrobials if pockets exist. If the disease has become quite serious, your pet could require surgery to treat affected teeth using specific procedures or even extraction.
You can easily prevent periodontal disease by brushing your pet’s teeth. Ask your vet about special treats and foods that help control plaque, too. Find out how your pet’s teeth should be brushed and about the proper toothpaste and brushes just for pets.
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