General Health

Posted on: February 11, 2014

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What lurks below the surface?

Shep-before-290x290You may think your dog or cat’s teeth look healthy, despite some tartar build-up, but it’s what you don’t see that should concern you. Dental care and good hygiene are just as important for pets as they are for humans. Eating healthy and brushing your teeth daily doesn’t guarantee a cavity-free visit to the dentist. Everything can look good until the x-rays reveal a different story. The same is true for dogs and cats.

Did you know?

Periodontal disease is prevalent in more than 85% of dogs over four years old. Periodontal disease is caused by bacteria and inflammation below the gum line which can lead to the loss of tissue and bone supporting the tooth.

The signs of periodontal disease include:

  • Redness, swelling or bleeding along the gum line
  • Bad breath
  • Loose or missing teeth
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Facial swelling
  • Excessive drooling or nasal discharge
  • Tooth resorption is also a common dental problem, right behind periodontal disease, in cats. According to the American Veterinary Dental Society (AVDS), 72% of cats over the age of five can suffer from one oral resorptive lesion. The problem starts below the gum line in the root of the tooth, eventually causing swollen gums and holes in the tooth surface.

You’ve heard the saying: A picture is worth a thousand words…

Cat and toothbrushOften we don’t realize our pets, especially cats, are experiencing pain and discomfort in the mouth. A comprehensive physical exam includes an examination of the mouth. Veterinarians know what signs of dental disease to look for during the oral exam, but only x-rays and dental radiographs can detect serious problems that a visual examination alone won’t identify.

For optimal dental health, the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) recommends regular oral examinations and dental cleanings. Short-lasting anesthetic is required for more complete examinations for the safety and comfort of the pet and the professionals. Dental care without anesthesia is not recommended by AAHA or our veterinarians because it is no more than a visual exam. You know what it’s like trying to look inside your pet’s mouth or brush the teeth. A thorough examination and cleaning are impossible on a pet that is not sedated.

The best dental care for your pet, made easy.

Doylestown Veterinary Hospital is proud to be an AAHA-certified practice to offer clients the best in pet care and to offer comprehensive Wellness Plans which include dental coverage. We understand dental care is an additional cost—usually a sizeable amount for one payment. Our Wellness Plans with dental coverage make it convenient and affordable to give your dog or cat the best care to improve quality of life and add healthy years together.