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Strong, healthy teeth are a sign of a strong, healthy pet. If your pet's teeth and gums are decayed and infected, it is probably painful and difficult for them to chew food, drink water and sleep comfortably. In addition, bad oral health in pets may lead to infections elsewhere in the pet's body if oral bacteria infiltrate the bloodstream. To ensure your pet enjoys healthy teeth and gums, your Glen Allen veterinarian urges dog and cat owners to schedule regular teeth cleaning and dental exams at Short Pump Animal Hospital.
Dogs and cats suffer from the same teeth and gum diseases that humans do. Accumulation of plaque on teeth at the gum line usually leads to cavities, tooth decay and gum disease (gingivitis). If left untreated, gingivitis and tooth decay progress into periodontitis, a particularly severe oral disease that causes tooth loss, bleeding gums and abscesses.
Cats with poor oral health can suffer stomatitis, a painful inflammation of the mouth's mucous membranes. Signs of feline stomatitis include halitosis, inflamed gums, and swelling of throat tissues. Advanced feline stomatitis can make it difficult for cats to eat and swallow. Cats with stomatitis may also have tooth resorption, a condition involving inflamed gums growing into or engulfing the tooth.
So that pets receive thorough dental exams, vets administer a sedative to pets before the exam begins. A typical pet dental exam takes less than 30 minutes unless treatment is needed to fill cavities, extract teeth or perform other oral procedures. During your pet's dental exam, your VA veterinarian will look for:
In addition, x-rays may be taken of your pet's mouth if your vet suspects impacted teeth, severe infection, palate defects or other problems requiring further treatment.
Cheaper, generic pet food typically contains high amounts of fillers such as soy glutens and corn that leave tooth-decaying particles on teeth. Although pets should have their teeth professionally cleaned at least once a year to avoid dental issues, a rapid development of tooth decay and gum disease is clearly associated with highly processed dog and cat food. Feeding your pet protein-rich food that does not contain fillers may help reduce the risk of periodontitis or stomatitis in pets.
Your Glen Allen veterinarian invites pet owners to learn more about pet dental care services at Short Pump Animal Hospital by calling at (804) 360-0100 to speak to a vet technician or to schedule an appointment.