Bad breath can be an early sign of dental disease, which is estimated to affect at least 70% of adult dogs and cats. Dental disease is very much a progressive process with a number of different stages. The first stage involves the build up of plaque on the surface of the teeth; this is a soft, creamy layer that contains a mixture of saliva, cell debris and bacteria. These bacteria then causes ginigivitis (redness of the gums) and bad breath. Over time, minerals within the saliva also harden to form calculus, which appears as a brown covering over the teeth. Unfortunately, this is not just a cosmetic problem as calculus traps bacteria within the mouth, which then eat away at the gums and cause teeth to become loose. In addition, these bacteria can spread to other organs in the body, including the heart, kidney and the liver.
Dogs and cats like humans the normal treatment usually involves a dental scale and polish, however unlike humans for pets they are carried out under general anaesthesia. During this procedure, plaque and calculus are removed and, if the disease is severe, some teeth may need to be extracted. Unfortunately, even after a professional clean, plaque starts to build up within hours and therefore a preventative daily home-care routine is vital. However, it is important not to use human dental products as these often contain detergents, foaming agents and fluoride, all of which are designed to be rinsed and spat out, which our pets are unable to do, there are some great diets and some tooth pastes specifically designed for veterinary use and contains an enzyme system that attacks bacteria within the mouth, helping to fight bad breath and control the formation of dental plaque.

Summary and some additional advice

What are the symptoms of dental health?

  • bad breath
  • problems eating
  • gum and tooth pain
  • tooth loss
  • lethargy

What can your vet do to improve dental health

  • scale and polish to remove plaque and stains
  • tooth extraction may sometimes be necessary
  • treatments to prevent plaque reforming
  • all treatments carried out under general anaesthetic

What can you do to improve dental health for cats and dogs

  • brush everyday with a pet toothpaste
  • use a water dental additive
  • give dental diets daily, and dental chews every other day

Do not wait for them to tell you they have a sore mouth!

Poor dental care can lead to more serious problems, such as damage to major internal organs. Don’t take the risk!

Lucky for your pet Highton Veterinary Clinic as fully kitted out dental facility with Dental Radiology (X-Rays) available at the clinic to cater for a routine dental procedure through to the more complex dental treatments and anything in between, why not ask the staff if your are worried about your pets teeth. Remember every pet deserves a pain free mouth!

Please contact us if you would like to book your pet in for a dental check or if you have any further questions about how to improve your pet’s dental hygiene.

Call Highton Vet Clinic (03) 5243 0077 

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(03) 5243 0077

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Sunday 10am to 10pm

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