Periodontal Disease in Pets: Signs & Treatment

Care & Wellness, Cats, Dental, Diagnosis, Dogs, Infectious Diseases

Do you cringe in disgust when your dog breathes in your face? Do you give a “wow” when your cat yawns? Maybe your pet has yellow fangs, or yelps whenever it goes to gnaw a hard treat. Any of these might be a sign your cat or dog is suffering from the dangerous gum disease known as periodontal disease.

Periodontal Disease, A Common Problem for Pets

Dental disease is one of the most common diseases in our pets. It is thought that by the age of 3 years about 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have some form of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease starts when bacteria forms a plaque on the teeth, and this plaque will harden and adhere to the teeth as tartar. Tartar on the teeth can be seen by the owners. The periodontal disease will then spread under the gums affecting the structures surrounding the teeth. The end stage involves tooth loss, and periodontal disease can be very painful. If you’ve ever had a tooth infection you might understand how painful these tooth problems can be.

Signs Your Pet Could Have Periodontal Disease:

  • Bad breath
  • Loose teeth
  • Drooling or dropping of food
  • Eating food on one side of the mouth
  • Bleeding from the mouth
  • Loss of appetite or weight loss

However, don’t wait for these symptoms to get your pet checked out. Most pets show no signs of dental disease in the early stages and some pets may never show signs of how painful their mouth is — Small animals are instinctively programmed to hide signs of pain or sickness.

Dental Disease Is Preventable

Regular brushing! Start your new kitten and puppy on daily brushing. Start with your finger, a finger brush, or a washcloth and gently wipe the teeth. It will be a slow process to begin with and will require lots of encouragement to get a good cleaning. Eventually, you may want to move up to a toothbrush and pet toothpaste (don’t use human toothpaste!).

Remember that daily brushing is the key to preventing dental disease because plaque can harden into tartar in as little as 36 hours!

What If My Pet Already Has Periodontal Disease?

If you’re in the Spotsylvania area, schedule a visit with us today so we can examine your pet and determine what stage of dental disease they may have.

Dental disease can be treated with dental cleaning and extractions as needed. Dental cleanings and treatment will require your pet to go under anesthesia, which allows us to also do a more thorough exam of the teeth. We will take dental radiographs of your pet’s teeth to determine if there is a problem under the gum-line and clean above and below the gumline. Extractions may be necessary depending on the level of dental disease, and in some cases, your pet may be referred to a dental specialist for advanced dental care.

Remember: Dental procedures, including anesthesia, cleanings, and extractions, can be costly when compared to regular preventive visits! The more preventive care you perform at home, and the more you routinely visit your veterinarian, the more you’ll save — and the more you’ll save your pet from unnecessary pain and other health issues. Contact us today to schedule a dental appointment or to learn more about our care options.

For further reading on the subject, visit this American Veterinary Dental College’s information page.

Spotsylvania Animal Hospital provides medical and surgical care for every stage of your pet's life including preventive wellness care exams and vaccines, spays/neuters, and a variety of specialized care for your dog or cat. Learn more about us!

Yes, Your Pets Are Still Vulnerable to Fleas, Ticks, and Mosquitoes During Cold Weather

It’s cold outside! Most people think their pets don’t need to use flea or tick prevention during the winter. WRONG! Fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes can survive and thrive all year long in Virginia. Not only that, but your pets and home are a nice warm haven for these...

It’s No Myth: Chocolate is Toxic For Cats and Dogs

Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, and Easter are days of celebration. Cards and chocolate are common presents. But, pets can’t read cards and they certainly shouldn’t eat chocolate. Remember to keep your chocolate desserts put away or high out of reach from your...

Why You Should Think Twice Before Feeding Your Pet a Grain-Free Diet

Nutrition is an important part of your pet’s overall health. Choosing the right food for your pet can be an overwhelming endeavor given all the choices on the market. The Grain-Free Pet Food Trend Isn’t Supported by Science Over the past few years there has been a...

What’s Up With Lyme Disease In Dogs?

Spring weather is here again, which means many people are taking their dogs out for nature walks. This is also the time of year veterinarians see an “uptick” in Lyme disease infections. Lyme Disease is Spread by Tick Bites Lyme disease is caused by a bacteria spread...

Resource Topics

How to Keep Your Pets Safe Through the Holidays

We all love to spoil our pets around the holidays with new toys and treats. Make sure you keep them safe by following...

Why You Should Think Twice Before Feeding Your Pet a Grain-Free Diet

Nutrition is an important part of your pet’s overall health. Choosing the right food for your pet can be an...
Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons

Wildlife Wednesday!
Birds 🐦
It is nesting season for our feathered friends! This means there may be an increase in people who find baby birds outside of the nest.

What do you do if you find a baby bird?
-Assess the situation first before assuming the bird needs to be rescued.
-UNLESS the baby bird is featherless and its eyes are still shut it does not need your help. These birds are nestlings and not ready to leave the nest yet. If you can locate the nest, the best thing to do is place the nestling back into the nest. IF the nest cannot be located, leave the nestling where you found it or move to a shaded area closest to where it was found. The parents will most likely come back.

-Fledglings are the more developed birds. You can easily tell the difference by their more developed feathers. If you see one of them on the ground, this is NORMAL. As they get bigger, they need room to move around and learn to fly. Their parents are most likely still near by caring for them. Be sure to give them plenty of space and try to keep your pets away from the area.

-If you believe that the bird is truly in need of your help, DO NOT try to do this on your own. You'll need to find a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. You can look through this link: fws.maps.arcgis.com/apps/instant/nearby/index.html?appid=6e5a1e28771543f5ba195f85ffb95b17

If you want to look more into baby birds, you can use the following link for more detailed information. dwr.virginia.gov/wildlife/injured/birds/
... See MoreSee Less

Wildlife Wednesday!
Birds 🐦
 It is nesting season for our feathered friends! This means there may be an increase in people who find baby birds outside of the nest.  What do you do if you find a baby bird?
 -Assess the situation first before assuming the bird needs to be rescued.
-UNLESS the baby bird is featherless and its eyes are still shut it does not need your help. These birds are nestlings and not ready to leave the nest yet. If you can locate the nest, the best thing to do is place the nestling back into the nest. IF the nest cannot be located, leave the nestling where you found it or move to a shaded area closest to where it was found. The parents will most likely come back.  -Fledglings are the more developed birds. You can easily tell the difference by their more developed feathers. If you see one of them on the ground, this is NORMAL. As they get bigger, they need room to move around and learn to fly. Their parents are most likely still near by caring for them. Be sure to give them plenty of space and try to keep your pets away from the area.  -If you believe that the bird is truly in need of your help, DO NOT try to do this on your own. Youll need to find a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. You can look through this link: https://fws.maps.arcgis.com/apps/instant/nearby/index.html?appid=6e5a1e28771543f5ba195f85ffb95b17 
If you want to look more into baby birds, you can use the following link for more detailed information. https://dwr.virginia.gov/wildlife/injured/birds/
Load more