Periodontal Disease in Dogs & Cats

Could my Dog or Cat have Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease in cats and dogs is a series of changes that is associated with the inflammation and loss of the deep supporting structures of teeth. Dogs and cats from six months on may be affected and by the time most animals reach the age of four they have some form of periodontal disease.

Breeds with crowded teeth, dogs and cats that groom themselves causing hair to get imbedded in between their teeth, and poor nutritional state can increase the risk of your pet getting advanced stages of periodontal disease. Microscopic lesions have been found affecting dog’s and cat’s livers, kidneys, and brains in some animals with periodontal disease.

Periodontal disease in cats and dogs can develop when food particles and bacteria collect along the gumline forming plaque. If this plaque is not removed, minerals in the saliva combine with the plaque to form tartar (or calculus) which adheres strongly to the teeth. Plaque starts to mineralize 3-5 days after it forms. The tartar is irritating to the gums and causes an inflammation called gingivitis, which causes reddening of the gums adjacent to the teeth. It also causes bad breath.

If nothing is done to stop the bacteria it builds up under the gums. It separates the gums from the teeth to form “pockets” and encourages even more bacterial growth. When this happens the damage is irreversible, and your pet will have periodontal disease. It can be very painful and can lead to loose teeth, abscesses, and bone loss or infection.

You can prevent periodontal disease in cats and dogs by taking the necessary steps to stop the bacteria from building up. For example brushing your dog’s teeth can greatly reduce the accumulation of plaque and development of tartar, thus reducing the risk of periodontal disease.  I also recommend using Plaque and Tarter Control, which will help prevent the formation of plaque and tartar, clean and whiten teeth, and help eliminate periodontal disease symptoms. Plaque and tartar control is easy to use, all you have to do is add it to your pet’s water and when they get a drink the bacteria in their mouth dies, even in hard to reach places like between their teeth.  Petlane’s plaque and tarter control is to your pet what mouthwash is to you.

What are the signs of periodontal disease?

  • Persistent bad breath
  • Gums that bleed easily
  • Sensitivity around the mouth
  • Pawing at the mouth
  • Gums that are inflamed (red) or receding
  • Loose or missing teeth
  • Loss of appetite
  • Stomach or intestinal upsets
  • Drooling
  • Difficulty chewing or eating
  • Irritability or depression

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