Almost every cat will require dental intervention at some point in its life, and every fourth puppy is born with a malocclusion. Unfortunately, adult dogs also very often suffer from chronic periodontal disease, which requires medical intervention!
Although dental problems are widespread among dogs and cats, they are very often underestimated. Keep in mind that unpleasant mouth odour, gingivitis and tartar are not only cosmetic issues but also severe health problems and chronic pain that can negatively affect the heart, kidneys or digestive tract. It must also be realized that it is a life in a constant pain from which the animal cannot free itself.
What other symptoms accompany dental problems?
- bad breath from the mouth
- visible deposits or discoloration of teeth
- biting on one side or swallowing food whole
- preference for wet food
- more significant amounts of consumed water (pain symptom)
- chronic diarrhoea of unspecified cause
- non-healing conjunctivitis
- hyporexia or anorexia
- apathy or lethargy
- lack of acceptance of touch around the mouth cavity
- sores/swelling around the lips and eyeballs.
As you can see, it is not the lack of appetite that indicates the need for a dental consultation. As animals have a highly developed survival instinct, lack of appetite is extremely rare. They need to eat to survive, so they look for a way to get food that will cause the least pain.
Oral sanation is a comprehensive, preventive dental procedure performed under general anesthesia. It is divided into several stages:
At the very beginning of the procedure, a dental X-ray is performed to diagnose problems that are beyond our sight, i.e. under the gums, in the roots and bones. Unfortunately, over 60% of the problems origin there, which is why an X-ray examination is always an integral part of diagnostic.
SCALING / ULTRASONIC REMOVAL OF DENTAL DEPOSITS
The next step is to remove dental plaque. The veterinarian gently removes tartar accumulated on the tooth crown and under the gums using ultrasound. In some cases, curettage is also performed, manually removing deposits from deep pockets and hard-to-reach places.
POLISHING OF TOOTH CROWNS
At the end of the preventive treatment, dental crowns are polished using polishing paste. This smoothes the enamel surface, making it more resistant to plaque deposition.
Using a periodontal probe, the veterinarian examines each tooth separately, determining the degree of gingivitis, the depth of the gum pocket and the condition of the dental crown. Then the lips, palate, tongue, pharyngeal arches, throat and larynx are examined. Due to general anesthesia, such an examination allows to precisely assess the condition of the oral cavity.
Dental treatment includes preparation of carious lesions, reconstruction of damaged crowns and root canal treatment.
Surgical treatment includes all procedures related to periodontal and dental diseases, such as extractions, removal of lumps or closing of oronasal fistulas. Thanks to the use of anesthesia, we can perform not only oral cleaning, but also surgical treatment during one procedure.
All of these procedures can be performed in our clinic.
HOW TO CARE OF YOUR PET’S ORAL CAVITY?
Oral hygiene in animals is, just like in humans, necessary to maintain oral health. Only hygiene can delay or completely prevent the development of diseases resulting from the accumulation of bacteria.
It is very important to accustom animals to cleaning their teeth from an early age and to reward them for their cooperation.
To begin with, it is worth starting by touching the animal’s teeth, cheeks and palate with your finger as a form of training, and then offering a snack. After a few days, small amounts of dental gel or paste should be applied to the finger. Over time, we apply a gel/paste cleaner or a special dental wipe to the finger and repeat the activities to finally accustom the animal to using the toothbrush. A toothbrush used on all tooth surfaces is the most effective form of oral hygiene but, unfortunately, not every patient will accept it.
In patients who, for various reasons, cannot use the above methods, spray preparations can be used. However, their effectiveness is lower as they do not remove plaque mechanically.
Recommended products for teeth cleaning:
- Maxiguard Oral – gel or wipes, neutral taste, anti-inflammatory effect
- FreshAid – gel, neutral taste, anti-inflammatory effect
- Zymodent – enzymatic paste*, tasty
- Vetprotector – spray, neutral taste, anti-inflammatory effect
- Vetprotector teeth fresh – paste, neutral taste
- Orozyme – enzyme paste*, tasty
- Virbac enzymatic – enzyme paste*, tasty
*Enzymatic pastes – contain additional ingredients to chemically support hygiene.
VOHC approved plaque and tartar removal snacks*:
- Canine/Feline Greenies
- ProDen PlaqueOff Dental Bites
- Purina DentaLife Daily Oral Care Dog/Cat Treats
*full list available at http://vohc.org/all_accepted_products.html
Please note that food additives cannot replace oral hygiene, but they can support it – especially in patients in which teeth brushing is impossible.
It is recommended to perform preventive dental checkups every 6 months. If the veterinarian detects the presence of dental plaque or disease symptoms, dental treatment will be recommended.
There are viral diseases in cats that predispose them to problems in the oral cavity (and elsewhere). Belong to them:
– Diseases that impair the immunity: FIV (feline equivalent of HIV/AIDS) and FeLV (feline infectious leukemia). A serological test for them can be performed in the clinic on site; the test requires just a few drops of blood.
– Diseases causing changes on the mucous membranes: FCV (feline calicivirus) and FHV (feline herpesvirus). PCR testing for them can be performed after sending a swab from a mucous membrane to the laboratory.
It is advisable to test every new cat arriving at home for these diseases. Tests are especially recommended for patients who have changes, such as erosions, ulcers, hyperplasias or wounds, in the oral cavity (or on other mucous membranes).
RABBIT AND RODENT DENTISTRY
Rabbits and rodents’ teeth grow throughout their lives, just like nails. A properly balanced diet allows for regular wear of dental crowns, thanks to which the teeth have the correct length and structure.
Unfortunately, there are situations in which dental crowns become overgrown. This causes numerous health problems: eating disorders, wounds in the mouth, malocclusion and inflammation of the periodontium and the surrounding tissues. Other dental diseases also occur, such as longitudinal tooth fractures, malocclusions and periapical abscesses.
Often, the symptoms of dental diseases are not obvious – apart from loss of appetite or weight loss, sometimes they include tearing or a runny nose, loose stools, or even bald spots on the paws.
Regular check-ups allow the veterinarian to assess the bite, the effectiveness of crown wear and to recognize the first problems in the oral cavity.
In our clinic, we offer a full range of dental services: preventive treatment, surgical treatment and full dental diagnostics with an X-ray under inhalation anesthesia.