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February's Topic of the Month is:  National Pet Dental Health Awareness

The Facts

  • Oral disease is the most frequently diagnosed disease in pets
  • By the age of 4, 85% of cats and dogs show signs of oral disease
  • If left untreated, oral disease can lead to bad breath, severe pain, and tooth loss
  • Chronic infections can spread to major organs
  • Almost 7 out of 10 adult cats have some form of periodontal disease

The Potential Problems

  • Tartar build-up
  • Gingivitis (inflammation of the gums)
  • Periodontal disease (inflammation of the tooth’s supporting structures)
  • Abscess (bacterial infection that can spread to the bloodstream if left untreated)
  • Resorption (tooth structures disintegrate, leads to tooth loss)

Signs and Symptoms

  • Bad breath
  • Excessive drooling
  • Lumps and bumps on the jaw
  • Reluctance to eat (especially hard food)
  • Reluctance to groom
  • Red, inflamed, or bleeding gums

At Home Prevention

  • Drinking water additives help decrease the amount of bacteria as well as freshens breath
  • Dental chews or rawhides help remove build-up, decrease bacteria levels, and improve breath
  • Brushing inhibits plaque and tartar build-up
  • Special dental treats (such as Hill’s T/D) help decrease build-up