March 22, 2013

Are your pet’s teeth clean?

Man’s best friend is notorious for having the world’s worst breath. But what seems like just an annoyance could mean serious health problems.{{more}}

Usually bad breath could indicate tartar build-up, or worst, gum disease. As much as 80 per cent of dogs and 70 per cent of cats show signs of oral disease by five years of age. And your pet’s heart health could depend on your attention to your pet’s teeth. Yes, bad teeth could be deadly.

How do you know if your pet’s teeth are clean? Lift the lips and look at the teeth. They should be shiny, white, and healthy looking. The gums should be pink, but not reddened, swollen or diseased looking. Your pet’s breath should be “reasonable”, not putrid or rotten smelling. There should be no sores or lesions on the gums.


Consequences of poor dental hygiene:

  •  Tartar (Plaque). This is the yellowish, brownish build up that occurs at the base of the teeth where the teeth meet the gums. This material is full of bacteria. If left untreated, it will lead to periodontal disease and many other devastating health conditions. Plaque is the combination of saliva and food debris that sticks to the teeth. As calcium salts are deposited in the build-up, tartar develops.
  •  Gingivitis. The gums become inflamed and reddened from a build-up of tartar on the teeth. This is reversible with proper teeth cleaning by your veterinarian.
  •  Periodontal disease. Gingivitis will lead to periodontal disease if left untreated. The gums become infected andrecede from the teeth. The ligaments surrounding the root of the teeth are damaged. Even the bone of the jaw itself can be damaged. There can be an accumulation of pus and even bleeding. This is very painful. The pet will stop eating, lose weight as a result, and show reluctance to being touched on the face and head. Periodontal disease is not reversible. The progress can only be stopped by the proper treatment. You don’t want to let your pet’s mouth to get to this point.

Oro-nasal fistulas:

These are non-healing “tracts” that open up between the mouth and nose. Often the dog will have sneezing fits that lead to a bleeding nose. 


Feline Odontoclastic Resorptive Lesions (FORL):

This is caused by the activation of odontoclast that attack the teeth. The crown of the tooth will eventually snap off and the gum will grow over the remaining root. This is very painful. There is a higher incidence in Siamese and oriental cats, and immunosuppressed cats (FeLv and FIV positive cats) 


Broken jaw:

In smaller breeds, extremely advanced stages of periodontal disease can lead to mandibular fracture.


Kidney, liver, or heart disease:

The abundance of bacteria present in tartar can gain access to the bloodstream through the compromised gums that are affected by periodontal disease. These bacteria-laden plaques can lodge in the valves of the heart, liver, kidney, and even the lungs. These situations are life-threatening and can lead to death.

For further information, contact:
Dr Collin Boyle Unique Animal Care Co. Ltd.
Tel: 456 4981