Did you know that your pet’s oral health gives clues about their overall health — or that problems in your pet’s mouth affect the rest of their body? We want you to understand the intimate connection between your pet’s oral health and overall health and what you can do to protect them.
Periodontal disease is the number one condition occurring in adult dogs and cats, and is entirely preventable. By three years of age, most pets have some form of dental disease but unfortunately, other than bad breath, there are few signs of disease evident to pet owners. Thus, periodontal disease is often left under-treated and not only leads to oral infections but damage to internal organs in pets as they age.
Like many areas of the body, your pet’s mouth is teeming with bacteria — most of them harmless. When bacteria in the mouth form a substance called plaque, it subsequently hardens to form tartar (calculus) and firmly attaches to the tooth surface. Harmful dental disease develops as plaque and tartar spread under the gum-line, damaging the supporting structures around the tooth. This leads to infection, pain, and eventually to loss of the tooth. Bacteria from the mouth also enter the bloodstream and can cause microscopic changes in the heart, liver, and kidneys. Studies in humans have linked periodontal disease to such health problems as heart disease, premature birth, and diabetes, so why would it be any different for our pets?
What does this mean to you as a pet owner? It is important to realize that as advances in veterinary medicine unravel, more and more is discovered about improving our pet’s overall health. Yes, many years ago our pets ate table scraps, slept outdoors and chewed on bones to “clean” their teeth. Today, our pets sleep in our beds, lick our faces and are fed “premium, organic” pet food. So why not advance our pet’s dental health too. Trust us when we tell you that dental care is just as important for your pet’s well-being as it is for yours.
Kortright Animal Hospital is focusing on pet dental health during the months of February and March! Call us to see what you can do at home for your pets oral health!