approaching, it is time to make sure your preventive health program is
providing the proper protection for your pets. This is the time to
have your pet's yearly heartworm test done. Keep giving them their
monthly Heartguard Plus®
to protect against heartworms and intestinal
worms. You should also make sure your pet is current on its
vaccinations against the common preventable diseases in our area.
And of course, you should make sure to keep applying monthly Advantage®
to your pet to keep the flea problem
away. You should also perform appropriate flea extermination
procedures in your house and yard to keep the fleas from creating a large
population as the weather begins to warm up. Last, but actually most
important, you should make sure your pet has had a thorough physical
examination within the last 12 months. If not, call and schedule an
appointment to have this done.
For years, we have preached the benefits of
proper dental health care. We are curious to know how much you have
retained from all these lessons and invite you to TEST YOUR PET DENTAL
I.Q. and hope you have fun testing your pet dental knowledge.
Just grab a pencil or pen and
proceed. The answers are at the end of this newsletter so you will
not be distracted by them.
True of False
1. Periodontal disease (or gum disease) is
caused by a plaque built-up. _______
2. As plaque buildup hardens, it turns into
a substance called tartar.
3. If tartar is allowed to build up on the
teeth, they soon become covered with a shell of brownish, foul-smelling
material. This situation inflames the gums causing gingivitis. __________
4. Gingivitis seldom leads to the loss of a
pet's teeth. __________
5. The problems associated with periodontal
disease are limited to the pet's oral cavity. _________
6. A routine dental procedure for a pet is
similar to one you receive from your family dentist except that we usually
administer a short-acting general anesthetic. _______
7. According to the American Veterinary
Dental Society (AVDS), an astounding 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show
signs of oral disease by age 3. ________
8. Smaller breeds of dogs can be
predisposed to more marked forms of periodontal disease._______
9. for some reason, animals do not feel the
pain caused by dental problems._______
10. Left untreated, the constant exposure
to infection caused by periodontal disease may adversely affect your pet's
vital organs. ____
1.The first step in preventing oral disease
is a routine physical examination including a dental exam.
2. Pet owners should practice a regular
dental care regimen at home, which may include brushing the pet's teeth
with specially formulated toothpaste. It's best to start your pet early
but older dogs and cats can learn to tolerate brushing. Toothpaste
for humans is not recommended because it may upset the pet's stomach.
3. If you notice any of the telltale dental
trouble signs, your pet should be taken to the veterinarian for a dental
exam. give our office a call to make an appointment for your pet to
undergo a dental procedure.
Periodontal disease is common in dogs of smaller
breeds because dogs' teeth often are too large for their mouths,
forcing the teeth closer together
Cats can develop painful cervical line lesions.
Studies show that about 28% of domestic cats develop at least one of
these painful lesions during their lifetime
Bacteria, combined with saliva and food debris
between the tooth and gum, can cause plaque formulations that
accumulate on the tooth. As bacteria grow in the plaque and as
calcium salts are deposited, plaque turns to tartar.
Unlike the inflamed gums of gingivitis, which can be
treated and reversed with thorough plaque removal and continued plaque
control, periodontitis can only be contained to prevent progression.
The disease caused red, swollen and tender gums, receding gums,
bleeding, pain and bad breath. If left untreated, periodontitis
can lead to tooth loss.
The infection caused by periodontal disease may enter
the bloodstream, potentially infecting the heart, liver and kidneys.
Common indications of oral disease include bad
breath, a change in eating or chewing habits, pawing at the face or
mouth and depression.
If any of these signs are present, your pet should be
taken to the veterinarian for a dental exam.
Answers to Commonly Asked Questions
About Pet Dental Health
Q. Will my pet
suffer if I don't take care of its teeth and gums?
A. Periodontal or Gum Disease can cause your pet
pain. It can also cause serious dental problems later in life as
well as possibly lead to more serious illnesses, such as heart and kidney
Q. Can pets get cavities?
A. Just like humans, pets can get cavities.
However, cavities in animals are rather rare because their diets usually
consist of foods that are low in decay causing sugars. To avoid cavities,
feed your pet only those foods and treats designed for animals.
Q. Isn't it natural for pets to have bad breath?
A. No! sometimes bad breath is indicative of a more
serious illness. Most often however, it is caused by the presence of
periodontal disease. If you notice that your pet has bad breath, it
is important to give our office a call.
Q. How can a dental procedure
help my pet?
A. As we said earlier in this newsletter, a dental procedure for a pet
is very similar to the one you receive. Just like with human teeth,
it is important to remove the plaque, stain and tartar encrusted above and
below the gum line thereby restoring your pet's teeth to a clean and
polished condition and removing the bacteria that may cause periodontal
Q. When considering their dental health, what is best to feed a pet
dog or cat?
A. Generally, studies show that hard food is slightly better for
keeping plaque from accumulating on the teeth. Additionally, there
is a special food product for dogs and cats that has proven helpful in
reducing plaque and tartar. If you have any questions about this
product's use with your pet, talk to the doctor or a member of our staff.
As we explained earlier in this newsletter,
one of the best ways to prevent periodontal disease is the frequent
brushing of your pet's teeth. Sound familiar? Your dentist has
probably been making similar statements about your teeth for years. It is
no different with your pet.
If you are unsure of how to brush your
pet's teeth, these three easy steps should prove helpful:
1. Wrap a cloth or piece of gauze around
your finger and use it like a toothbrush on your pet's teeth. Wipe
all the teeth, front and back, with strokes from the gum line to the tip
of the tooth. Do this for one or two weeks until your pet is
familiar with having the gums and teeth rubbed.
2. Gradually work up to a soft toothbrush
and plain water. After a week of using a sort toothbrush, add a small
amount of special pet toothpaste. Never use human toothpaste as it
will irritate the pet's stomach!
3. Begin by brushing the front teeth and
then the large upper and lower teeth in the back. The bristles
should be held at a 45 degree angle to the tooth surface and be moved in
an oval direction. Scrub in the crevice where the gums meet the teeth as
this is where odor and infection begin.
If you remain uncertain of the proper
technique or need the correct dental products, give our office a call. One
of our staff members will be happy to help you.