Dental disease and your pet

Dogs and cats, just like humans, can get a build-up of plaque on their teeth after eating, due to food binding with saliva and bacteria and forming a film-like layer. If this plaque is not brushed away it can lead to tartar build up, which is the visible substance that you can often see on their teeth. Again, if this tartar is left untreated it can cause gum disease which can lead to multiple other problems including bad breath and tooth loss. It is so common in dogs, that studies show over 80% of dogs under 3 years old have some stage of dental disease. [Kennel Club]

Dental disease can be painful, but most pets are good at hiding the signs, and will rarely stop eating altogether. Signs to look out for in your pet include difficulty picking up toys/treats, bleeding or red gums, dribbling and even pawing at their face or mouth. If you have any concerns, please contact us in the first instance.

If dental problems aren’t treated timely, tooth loss will occur. More frighteningly, bacteria can enter the blood stream, which can cause problems for your pet, such as kidney, lung or heart disease.

To treat dental disease, your pet will most likely need a general anaesthetic to allow a scale and polish to be performed, including extractions where necessary. In some patients, a pre-anaesthetic blood test will be performed first to allow us to obtain a picture of your pets overall health. We might also recommend that your pet is placed on intravenous fluids throughout their surgery.

To prevent dental disease in the future, your vet or nurse can show you how to brush your pets teeth regularly. This is best started when your pet is a puppy or kitten. There are also products to slow down the build-up, such as specialist chews. In some cases, we might recommend that you try a dental specific diet for your pet, but this can be discussed at your appointment.

An estimate of costs for dental work will be given to you at your vet appointment. Some insurance companies will cover dental work, however most won’t. We can advise on this at your appointment.