Dental disease is the most common disease we see in pets. Just like us, our pets require routine dental care to maintain oral health. Regular professional veterinary dental care is very important to prevent periodontal disease, which can lead to tooth loss and other health issues such as heart, liver and kidney disease. Here is some information that you should be aware of:
STAGE /GRADE 1- MILD GINGIVITIS: The gums are inflamed and swollen, and plaque covers your pets teeth. Home dental care is needed. If there is no improvement, dental cleaning is needed to remove current plaque buildup. This disease stage is reversible.
STAGE/GRADE 2- MODERATE GINGIVITIS: The entire gum is inflamed and swollen. Mouth is painful and odor is noticeable. Dental cleaning to remove calculus is needed within the next month. Home dental care and regular dental cleanings are needed afterward for prevention. This disease stage is reversible.
STAGE/GRADE 3 – SEVERE GINGIVITIS: Gums are cherry red and bleeding, damaged by infection and calculus. A sore, painful mouth and bad breath is evident. Dental cleaning and removal of calculus is needed immediately. This is a very serious stage that can quickly progress to stage four.
STAGE/GRADE 4 – PERIODONTAL DISEASE: Chronic infection is destroying the gums, teeth and bone. Bacteria are spreading through the body via bloodstream and may damage the kidneys, liver and heart. Dental treatment is needed immediately. Dental x-rays and oral surgery may be needed as well as extractions due to irreversible bone loss or tooth root abscess.
Pets are an important part of our lives. Good dental care is essential to extend your pet’s life span and assure a good quality of life. Just like you, your pet needs to
receive daily dental care at home. It is best to begin home care when the puppy or kitten is between 8 and 12 weeks of age; however, it is never too late. The daily
brushing process should be pleasant for both you and your pet. Many pets enjoy the added attention while many owners look forward to the close quality time spent
with their companion animal. The supplies you need are a finger brush and CET pet toothpaste. Most animals accept brushing very well if they are introduced to the
procedure in a calm and patient way. If you need a demonstration, we will be happy to show you!
♥ Be patient. Take time with the process or your pet may become resistant.
♥ Praise your pet. It’s a new experience and praising your pet will make him or her more receptive.
♥ Reward your pet with treats at the end of each session. Remember, always make it fun!
♥ Stop immediately if your pet shows any signs of aggression. Please call us for advice!
♥ Human toothpaste is for humans and NOT for pets. It is common for human toothpaste to cause stomach problems and even vomiting.
♥ Brushing the teeth at home will decrease the frequency of professional dental care.
♥ Remember, always make it fun!
Make an appointment for a dental exam for your fur baby and find out what stage your pet’s teeth are in! Get those teeth looking and smelling great! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call us! For your convenience we are open 7 days a week; Monday – Friday from 8 am to 8 pm and on Saturday and Sunday from 8 am to 5 pm.
Cats tend to age more gracefully than dogs, but they still age. Eventually, they can’t jump to the top of the refrigerator or shelves in the family room. They tend to sleep more and their love for food gradually decreases. You can help your senior kitty enjoy their golden years. When you see your kitty start to have issues jumping into and out of the litter box, couch, beds, etc., it is time to talk with your veterinarian. Arthritis can be a concern in older cats. Medications, acupuncture and laser therapy can help. Laser Therapy reduces inflammation that results in pain reduction. It is also effective in treating acute pain, chronic conditions, and post-operative pain. Laser therapy treatment is safe, painless and fast. Pacific Animal Hospital offers Laser Therapy to our furry companions! LINK
As cats get older, you’ll also see increased or decreased sleep, avoiding human interaction, and dislike of being stroked or brushed. Some cats may experience behavioral changes as they age. Sometimes they’ll cry in the middle of the night, or won’t use their litter box reliably. They may seem confused or won’t relate to family members in the usual way. These can be signs of arthritis, dental disease, kidney disease, urinary tract infection or other health issues. Your veterinarian can advise the frequency of health checks that would best suit your cat, taking into consideration age and general health. Although it’s good to know your cat will be regularly examined, it shouldn’t prevent you from being a little more vigilant at home to spot the first signs that all is not well. There are a number of general warning signs that need attention, such as:
Loss of appetite, weight loss, drinking more often or drinking a larger amount per day, stiffness, lameness or difficulty in jumping up, lethargy, lumps or bumps anywhere on the body, balance problems, urine or stool accidents or difficulty passing urine or feces, disorientation or distress, uncharacteristic behavior, such as hiding, aggression, excessive vocalization……
Twice a year senior wellness visits are recommended. Our pets can’t tell us where it hurts and they hide illnesses very well. If you catch an illness early on, treatment is much more successful. Routine tests such as blood or urinalysis tests can pick up the very earliest signs of kidney problems, diabetes, hyperthyroid disease and other illnesses in the early stages. If you notice your pet’s appetite, bathroom habits, vocalizations and activity level has changed, a trip to the vet is the next step. These are symptoms that shouldn’t be ignored. Take action if you sense something is wrong.
Most important of all is to make sure your kitty is eating and drinking plenty of water. Check with your veterinarian for suggestions for the right senior diet for your pet; there are many varieties. If your cat has difficulty bending down to eat, try putting the food on a raised platform. Pet stores sell raised feeding stations plus automatic feeders with timers for seniors who now prefer eating several small meals a day. A good quality canned food is a fabulous method for adding more water to your cat’s diet. Many cats crave the taste of canned food, and will gobble it up in seconds. However, keep in mind that it is not uncommon for an older cat to turn up its nose at canned food when it has only been fed dry kibble its whole life. In this case, try heating the food in the microwave. The sensational smell may entice your pet to indulge.
Cat fountains really help encourage cats to drink. This is especially important in older cats. Another technique to increase water consumption is getting a wider water dish. Silly as it may seem, some cats do not enjoy having their whiskers touch the edge of the bowl. Experiment with dishes in their width, depth, material, and location. Some cats may only drink out of a specific type of dish, while others will have no discrimination. In addition, make an attempt to position multiple water dishes around the house to allow for easier access to water when your cat wants to quench its thirst. Change the water often, as some cats will only drink fresh water. Please remember that all of these suggestions are for a healthy cat. If you notice your cat is dehydrated or just drinking less than normal, make an appointment to have kitty be examined as soon as possible.
To make things easier for our aging felines, help them reach their favorite spots. Set up ramps or steps so they can easily get to a window to bird watch or enjoy their environment. Place soft, thicker bedding in the areas where they love to lounge. If they haven’t already, eventually they will take over Fido’s bed! A nightlight will help a senior cat with poor eyesight. Give them a daily brushing to help keep their coats tidy. Treat them as you would an elderly relative. Patience, lots of love, observation and making allowances for them will keep them happy during their golden years. Getting old isn’t easy, especially when the one growing older is your feline companion. Giving a little extra attention to your senior kitty’s health care may help them live a longer and healthier life. PAH feline friends, Cash and Gypsy enjoying their nap time together!
National Pet Dental Health Month is here! However, we all know that caring for our pet’s teeth shouldn’t just be recognized in the month of February. You must be aware of dental care every day, every month. Did you know that 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have some kind of oral disease by the age of 3? When your canine companion or feline friend has red gums, yellow teeth and stinky breath, it could be a sign of serious oral disease that could, if left untreated, lead to devastating affects on your pet’s quality of life. Proper dental care can detect dental disease that not only affects the mouth, but can also lead to more serious health problems such as the heart, lung and kidney disease. Bacteria in an pet’s mouth can get into the bloodstream and reach different organs, causing infections. Good dental hygiene is just as important for pets as it is for humans. With regular oral health maintenance and check-ups, most of these problems can be avoided.
Between regular veterinary examinations, pet owners should look for warning signs of gum disease such as bad breath, red and swollen gums, yellow-brown crusts of tartar along the gum lines, and if very severe, bleeding or pain when the gums or mouth are touched. Prevention is always the best medicine. One way you can take a proactive role in preventing oral disease in your pet is by using an important tool that many pet owners neglect to purchase for their companions: a toothbrush. A soft bristled toothbrush should be used to clean your pet’s teeth daily to remove any food particles and prevent the buildup of tarter and plaque deposits. Make sure to only use toothpaste that is specifically formulated for use on pets. Start “wiping” your puppy or kittens teeth with a soft cloth so that as they get older, they will be ready for the recommended toothpaste by your veterinarian. They will get used to you touching their mouth and teeth. Also, start to add healthy foods and treats. Some pet foods are now formulated to combat plaque and tartar build-up and have been proven to be a healthy effective oral health tool. Talk to your veterinarian and ask what would be best for your pet.
Signs of Dental Disease:
Early: bad breath, red, inflamed gum line, tartar
Early dental disease is still reversible with a professional dental cleaning. This is the best time to have your pet’s teeth cleaned, before the disease progresses.
Moderate: in addition to the above signs, you may see heavy tartar, discolored teeth, pain. When x-rays are taken, often there is bone loss and this is irreversible, however steps can be taken to prevent further progression.
Severe: in addition to the above signs, there may be loose or lost teeth, bleeding from the gums, drooling or dropping food from the mouth, pawing at face or mouth, facial swelling, very painful when mouth is touched. This pet needs emergency dental care.
Three Simple Steps to Dental Care:
Take your pet to get a dental exam: Your pet should have a routine veterinarian examination, every six months.
Start an at-home regimen: Ask your veterinarian to suggest nutritional supplements and a regular teeth brushing schedule. Your veterinarian will be more than happy to have staff show you how to properly brush your pet’s teeth. Not every client or patient is a candidate for tooth brushing. There are alternative methods of plaque control and removal. Your Dr. will work with you to determine which would be the best option for you and your pet! There are also some great oral hygiene dental chews that your pet will enjoy as a snack as well as dental rinses and water additives.
Schedule dental cleanings: Take your pet in for teeth cleanings.
As an AAHA-accredited hospital, Pacific Animal Hospital provides professional veterinary dental cleaning all year round. Your pet’s dental health is just as important as your own. Learn about your pet’s dental health grade and see what healthy teeth and gums look like! blog/2013/02/what-is-your-pets-dental-grade/ Keep in mind, pets can’t brush their teeth and floss like we do. Since our pets can’t communicate their feelings to us (still crossing my fingers!), regular exams are very important to catch problems early.