Our pets are an important part of our lives, and are considered by many of us to be members of the family. Like us, their dental health is important to overall well-being. Dental care is an important part of any good preventive medicine program and is essential if we are to help our pets live longer and happier lives.
Dental disease begins with the accumulation of tartar on the tooth surface. Tartar mineralizes to form plaque that traps bacteria next to the gums, resulting in inflammation and infection of the tissues (gingivitis). Plaque further mineralizes to form calculus on the tooth, leading to more severe infection and ultimately bone destruction and tooth loss. When roots of loose teeth become infected a tooth root abscess may develop leading to release of bacteria throughout the bloodstream.
Once there is significant tartar and calculus on teeth, the only way to effectively eliminate the problem is with a professional dental cleaning.
The good news is that dental disease can be prevented. By incorporating a program of home dental care, a crunchy kibble diet, and regular professional cleanings by your veterinarian, your pet can have healthier teeth and gums. The KSU VHC has many home care dental products available for your pet, from specialized finger toothbrushes to chicken flavored toothpaste. Changing your pet's food from canned to dry can also significantly reduce the rate at which tartar and calculus accumulate.
Animals that require a professional dental cleaning must be under general anesthesia. Prior to this, your pet will be thoroughly evaluated with a complete physical examination, and laboratory testing is performed. These tests may include a complete blood count, serum chemistries, and urinalysis. The veterinarian may recommend other testing before your pet undergoes general anesthesia to make certain your pet is healthy.
The importance of good dental health cannot be overemphasized. Keeping your pet's teeth and gums healthy will allow your pet to lead a healthier, longer life. Please call the KSU Small Animal Clinic to set up your pet's dental examination today at (785) 532-5690 (8am-5pm).