2013-04-19 / Columnists

The Veterinary Corner

Dental Facts About Your Pets
By Dr. Jay Rogoff And Dr. Allan Simon

Puppies have 28 temporary teeth that erupt at about three to four weeks of age. They have 42 permanent teeth that begin to emerge at about four months. Sometimes you find them just lying on the floor in your home when they fall out.

Symptoms of gum disease in dogs include yellow and brown build-up of tartar along the gum line, inflamed gums and persistent bad breath. Your dog is no longer his or her "kissable" self.

Broken teeth are a common problem, especially among outdoor dogs. According to veterinary dental experts, aggressive chewing on hard objects, such as commercially available cow hooves, is a primary cause of broken teeth in dogs.

Cat Dental Facts

Kittens have 26 temporary teeth that begin to erupt at about two to three weeks of age. They have 30 permanent teeth that erupt at about three to four months.

Symptoms of periodontal disease in cats include yellow and brown tartar buildup along the gum line, red inflamed gums, and persistent bad breath.

Resorptive lesions are the most common tooth disease in domestic cats. Studies show that about 28 percent of domestic cats develop at least one of these painful lesions during their lifetime.

Oral disease is the most frequently diagnosed health problem for pets

An astounding 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats show signs of oral disease by age 3, according to the American Veterinary Dental Society. Periodontal disease is a common problem in dogs, particularly smaller breeds.

As stated before, felines can develop painful resorptive lesions. Studies show that about 28 percent of domestic cats develop at least one of these painful lesions during their lifetime.

Oral disease begins with a buildup of bacteria in the pet´s mouth. 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, Bacterial plaque is the most important substrate in the development of periodontal disease. The inflammation and destruction that accompanies periodontal disease results from the direct action of bacteria and their by-products on periodontal tissues as well as the indirect activation of the host immune response. Periodontitis may lead to other health problems as well. Periodontal disease causes red, swollen and tender gums, receding gums, bleeding, pain and bad breath. If left untreated, periodontitis can lead to tooth loss.

The inflammation and infection associated with periodontal disease may damage other organs such as the heart, liver, and kidneys, or lead to other serious health problems. Without proper preventive or therapeutic care, plaque and tartar buildup leads to periodontal disease, which affects the tissues and structures supporting the teeth. Left untreated, periodontal disease can cause oral pain, dysfunction, tooth loss and systemic complications. Tartar has a contributory role due to its roughened surface, which enhances bacterial attachment and further plaque development, and also irritates gingival tissues.

Pet owners should look for warning signs of oral disease in their pets. 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, the pet should be taken to the veterinarian for a dental exam. The Animal Hospital of the Rockaways has a complete dental suite where we can help your pet with preventive and restorative care. The good news is that pet owners can reduce the risk of oral disease by following American Veterinary Dental Society recommendations.

The first step in preventing oral disease is a routine physical examination including a dental exam.

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 early, but grown dogs and cats can learn to tolerate brushing. Toothpaste for humans is not recommended because it may upset the pet´s stomach.

Schedule regular follow-up care with your family veterinarian and ask about specially formulated foods with proven benefits in plaque and tartar removal.

The good news is that pet owners can reduce the risk of oral disease by following American Veterinary Dental Society recommendations, as we do at the Animal Hospital of the Rockaways. The first step in preventing oral disease is a routine physical examination including a dental exam.

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 early, but grown dogs and cats can learn to tolerate brushing. Toothpaste for humans is not recommended because it may upset the pet´s stomach.

When your pet’s teeth are being cleaned we can also apply a special sealant. This innovative, easy-touse, professionally applied dental barrier dries rapidly to create a clear sealant on the animal’s subgingival gum line that helps keep the oral cavity clean and aids in extending the benefits of prophylaxis. A SANOS™application lasts up to six months.

Schedule regular follow-up care with your veterinarian and ask about specially formulated foods with proven benefits in plaque and tartar removal.

If you have any questions or want to discuss any of the information here please call or stop in at the Animal Hospital of the Rockaways, 114-10 Beach Channel Drive and the doctors will be happy to talk to you.

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