Why Does Your Pet Need a Dental Exam?

Does your pet have bad breath?  It could be a symptom of periodontal disease.  As Dr. Katie Teutemacher of our Merriam Veterinary Care Center explains, dog and cat owners should take their pet’s dental health seriously.

Q.) Why are regular dental exams for dogs and cats necessary?

A.) Dr. Teutemacher: It is very important to detect the presence of dental disease. When bacteria settles on the teeth and is not removed, it can cause periodontal disease, which can be very painful.  That bacteria can get into other places in the body and can cause other diseases: in the heart, liver, the kidneys, so it’s very important to keep teeth healthy so you can keep their body healthy.

Q.) How common is periodontal disease?

A.) Dr. Teutemacher: Roughly 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats over two years old have some form of periodontal disease. Symptoms can be inflamed or bloody gums, difficulty eating, general discomfort, and it can become systemic and lead to organ failure, which can be a life-threatening situation.

Q.) In addition to regular exams, what is the best prevention?

A.) Dr. Teutemacher: Brushing your pet’s teeth, once a day, with a veterinary toothpaste that doesn’t contain fluoride.  If you can’t brush their teeth because they won’t let you, use dental chews, treats or a water additive.

Q.) What can I expect at my dog’s or cat’s dental exam?

A.) Dr. Teutemacher: We have you schedule a pre-dental visit for our doctors to give your pet a thorough exam so we can determine if any disease might be present. At the dental appointment, we schedule the dental procedure where we anesthetize the pet, clean the teeth, take intra-oral dental radiographs to see what’s under the gum line and do treatments, as needed, to address any disease.

Is your pet overdue for his or her dental exam? Make an appointment with our Merriam Veterinary Care Center today!

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