Pet Care Info
Dental Disease and Cats?
Dental disease is one of the most common conditions seen by veterinarians. Approximately two-thirds of pets over three years of age have some degree of dental disease. The most common problems are due to periodontal disease, gingivitis and in cats, cervical neck lesions (also called oral resorptive lesions). Most pets will show few signs of dental disease. It is up to the pet’s family and veterinarian to uncover this hidden and often painful condition.
What are the clinical signs of dental disease?
There are a number of signs that should alert you to dental disease or other mouth problems in your cat. Your pet may show a decreased interest in food or approach the food bowl and then show a reluctance to eat. It may chew with obvious caution and discomfort, drop food from the mouth, or may swallow with difficulty. Dribbling may be seen, possibly with blood, and there may be a marked unpleasant odor to the breath. In some cases your pet may be seen pawing at its mouths or shaking its heads. Dental disease and oral pain may account for the “finicky appetites” that many cats and dogs display. As the oral infection increases, tonsillitis and pharyngitis can also occur. In addition, the bacteria are absorbed into the blood stream and can be carried to other organs. Heart valve infections (endocardiosis or endocarditis), kidney and liver problems are frequently caused by “bad teeth”. Dental disease also makes Diabetes very hard to control.
What causes dental disease?
The most common cause of dental disease in cats is due to tartar and calculus accumulation. As in humans, cats accumulate bacterial plaque on the surface of their teeth. If the plaque is not removed quickly, it becomes mineralized to form tartar and calculus. The bacterial products and decaying food stuck to tartar are one potential cause of bad breath. Tartar is easily identified by its yellow or brown color. It normally starts at the gum edge, especially on the back teeth called the premolars and molars. In severe cases, tartar and calculus may cover the entire tooth. The accumulation of tartar and bacteria on the teeth surfaces lead to infection and gingivitis or inflammation of the gums. If the disease is caught at an early stage and a thorough veterinary dental scaling and polishing performed, most of the teeth and gums will have a full recovery. However, if gingivitis is allowed to persist untreated, then irreversible periodontal disease will occur. During this process the bone and ligaments that support the tooth are destroyed leading to excessive tooth mobility and eventual tooth loss. Infection around the socket causes the formation of pus and a foul odor and may spread deep into the tooth socket creating an abscess, or even more severe problems. Once periodontal disease starts, the degenerative changes to the tooth and its support structures cannot be reversed. These changes also make it easier for more plaque and tartar to collect, resulting in further disease.
Is gingivitis always associated with dental disease?
Some cats develop severe gingivitis with minimal signs of accompanying dental disease. The affected areas may extend beyond the gums to other areas of the mouth, such as the throat or tongue. There are various reasons why this may occur and your pet would need to have some diagnostic tests performed to determine the cause.
What are cervical neck lesions?
Cervical neck lesions result from a progressive destruction of the enamel resulting in slowly deepening “holes” in affected teeth. Once the sensitive parts of the tooth are exposed, these lesions are intensely painful, and the only proven available treatment is to extract the tooth. The cause of this disease is unknown; however, poor oral health can play a role in the disease-process.
What should I do if my pet has signs of dental problems?
If you see that your cat has evidence of tartar accumulation, gingivitis or is exhibiting any signs of mouth pain or discomfort, you should take it to your veterinarian for an examination. You will be advised of the most appropriate course of treatment, which may involve having the cat’s teeth examined and cleaned under general anesthesia. The rate of tartar accumulation is very variable between individual cats, and in some cases this may necessitate professional cleaning on a regular basis such as every six to twelve months. Do not try to remove tartar from the teeth yourself using any form of metallic instrument. Aside from potentially harming your cat’s mouth or the cat harming you, you are likely to damage the tooth surface by creating microscopic scratches, which will provide areas for bacteria to cling to and encourage more rapid plaque formation, thus making the problem worse.
What can I do to help prevent dental disease in my cat?
We recommend starting tooth brushing as early as possible in every pet. This can be done using a tooth brush, finger brush or some gauze around your finger tip. Ideally this should be done daily to all surfaces of teeth, but we realize this is not always possible. If your pet gets too stressed during brushing, you can just brush a few teeth at a time. Try dividing the mouth into sections and do one at a time as often as he/she will let you.
Remember to use treats (or “bribes”!) for positive reinforcement will make each attempt a little easier for you and your pet. Make sure to use toothpaste made especially for pets. Human toothpaste is made to be rinsed from the mouth, and is very irritating to dog and cat tummies when swallowed.
We recommend “CET CHEWS” for dogs and cats. These are a great addition to home dental care, but should not be used more than a few times weekly. Remember some treats may contribute to weight gain and/or vomit/diarrhea especially if used in excess. Monitor your pet closely for any such changes or problems.
Providing your dog with appropriate chew toys can also help reduce plaque accumulation. Avoid hard nylon toys, cow hooves and bones, as these are hard enough to fracture teeth.
We strongly recommend feeding a prescription diet to all healthy adult pets. We all feed our own pets either Hills T/D or Medi-cal Dental Diet. On top of providing high quality balanced nutrition, these foods are highly effective at removing plaque and tartar. If your pet is having trouble giving up his/her regular diet, you can try mixing one of the dental diets together with the regular diet or even using the kibbles as a daily treat.We stand behind our diets 100%.If you are considering a diet change please give us a call so we can recommend a diet choice that is safe for your pet. Always remember that any food changes should be done gradually over a 5-7 day period to avoid stomach upset.
Dental health contributes significantly to the overall health of our pets. The purpose of this handout is to provide clients with an overview of the high quality dental care provided through our Group of Hospitals.
Dental admit appointment
This includes a full consultation with you. The nurse will answer any questions you may have and discuss the estimate of costs. The doctor performs a complete physical exam and reviews results of pre-anesthetic blood work to determine the safest anesthetic protocol for your pet.
General anesthesia is required to perform a thorough dental examination and treatment. An injectable agent, or premedication, is given prior to anesthetic induction. Premedication provides sedation, protects against the negative side effects of anesthetic agents and decreases pain and discomfort in the postoperative period. Once the premedication has taken effect, and your pet is placed on intra-venous fluids, an injectable anesthetic is given to achieve general anesthesia. At this point, a Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT) places an endotracheal tube to ensure safe and efficient delivery of oxygen and anesthetic gases to your pet. General anesthesia is maintained with isoflurane, one of the safest anesthetics currently available for veterinary use.
Supragingival and Subgingival scaling
Dental forceps and a mechanical scaler (the same instruments used by your dentist) are used to remove calculus from the crowns of the teeth. A handheld curette is used to gently remove calculus and debris from
beneath the gum line, where periodontal disease begins.
All tooth surfaces are polished, above and below the gum line, using a disposable flared rubber cup and fluoride polishing paste. Polishing removes etching caused by scaling and creates a smooth, glass-like surface to discourage plaque from adhering to teeth.
Flushing (subgingival irrigation)
A disinfecting oral rinse is used to flush beneath the gum line to remove all remaining debris from the oral cavity.
Examination, Charting and Dental X-Rays
A Veterinarian conducts a thorough examination of the teeth and oral cavity. Any irregularities of the teeth and supporting structures are charted on the surgical record. At this time, the veterinarian evaluates the oral x-rays to determine what extractions and/or other treatment may be required.
Dental discharge appointment
One of our Registered Technicians provides an overview of the dentistry and instructions for postoperative care. A dental kit is available for interested clients.
Dental Progress Evaluation
We like to see the patient back 14 days after the dentistry for a progress evaluation to ensure proper healing and to discuss home dental care.
HEART WORM SEASON IS AROUND THE CORNER.
This is the time to have your best friends (Dogs) tested for and protected from Heartworm Disease.
Heart worm (Dirofilaria immitis) is a blood-born parasite which is spread among the dogs through the mosquito bite and is found in the heart and adjacent large blood vessels of infected dogs.
The Female worm is 6 to 14 inches long and 1/8 inch wide. The male is about the half the size of female.
One dog may have as many as 300 worms.
Most dogs infected with heart worm do not show any signs of disease for as long as two years. Unfortunately, by the time clinical signs are seen, the disease is well advanced.
SIGNS-Most obvious signs are a soft, dry cough, shortness of breath, weakness, nervousness, listlessness and loss of stamina. All of those signs are most noticeable following exercise, when some dogs may even faint.
DIAGNOSIS of heartworm disease can be made by blood test in the veterinary hospital or veterinary laboratory.
TREATMENT of heartworm disease is costly and risky, most dogs are hospitalized for treatment.
PREVENTION is strongly recommended for all dogs at risk and is the best approach to protect your dogs form heartworm.
Blood test for heartworm is must before starting the preventive treatment.
At Central Oshawa Animal hospital we do the blood test and have different preventive medications for heartworm. Please call us to make an appointment.
Avoid the Holiday Hazards Ontario Veterinary Medical Association