Pets experience difficulties with oral health similar to people. While people can take action to prevent dental decay, pets are reliant upon our intervention. The Pet Hospital of Madison is committed to providing pets and their owners with the needed information and support to promote excellent oral health.
More Than a Pretty Smile
Keeping pet teeth clean affects more than just the appearance of the pet’s teeth and the quality of his or her breath. Bacterial infections that start in inflamed gums can enter the bloodstream and infect the pet’s heart, kidneys, liver, and other internal organs, causing the pet’s system to be in a constant state of fighting infection.
One example of the results of untreated dental conditions involves Pearl, a Sheltie who suffered irreversible kidney damage from a bacterial infection that began in her gums and spread through her bloodstream. This video shares her story.
Pet Dental Procedures
The Pet Hospital of Madison offer both routine and advanced pet dental care, including:
- Basic oral health exams
- Preventive at-home pet dental care instruction
- Professional cleaning
- Root canals and pulpectomies
Our pet dental suite is equipped similarly to a human dental office, including state-of-the-art dental units, drills, scalers, digital dental radiography, and computerized dental charting software for dogs and cats.
In addition to the services of The Pet Hospital of Madison, pet owners can monitor the health of their pet’s teeth by following some basic guidelines. Read this article from the ASPCA for more information or contact our helpful staff.
Answers to Your Questions on Dog & Cat Dental Health
- Q. Is it really necessary to brush my pet’s teeth—I’ve never done it for any other pet I’ve had?
- A: The importance of dental health to your pet’s overall health is an emerging trend in animal health care. So it is not surprising that you’ve not tended to your pet’s teeth in the past. Mouth infections and dental disease is dangerous to other systems in the body. So yes, it is important to keep your pet’s teeth clean and plaque-free.
- Q: My pet uses chew toys—don’t they clean the teeth?
- A: Many chew toys are good for removing tartar or massaging the gums, but that does not address periodontal disease.
- Q: How do I know if my pet has dental disease?
- A: With regular exams and wellness appointments, we hope to prevent dental problems. However, signs of dental disease include:
- Persistent bad breath
- Reluctance to chew toys or hard food
- Dropped food while eating
- Red, swollen, or bleeding gums
- Chattering teeth
- Q: Do dogs and cats get cavities?
- A: Cavities are rare, but periodontal disease is much more common. Cats and dogs can also get infections, abscesses, and experience tooth loss. A common problem in cats, which is similar to cavities, is F.O.R.L., or feline oral resorptive lesions. These lesions are sterile, unlike cavities (which are caused by bacteria), but are as painful as cavities and can cause complete destruction of the tooth.
- Q: Do pets really need surgical dental cleanings and X-rays?
- A: By the age of 3, most pets have some degree of dental disease. Since few pets would cooperate during a thorough dental exam, most pets have a surgical dental procedure in their future. And since 70% of gum disease is below the gum line, X-rays are important.
Read more about pet dental health at HealthyPet.com.