Did your pet just lick you and knock you over with his/her breath? This may be a sign of oral disease which not only causes horrible breath, but can be very painful and lead to other health issues such as heart, kidney and liver disease. February is National Pet Dental Health Month so take a little extra time this month to address your pet’s oral health.
Your pet’s gums should be a nice pink color, not red or white and not swollen.Their teeth should be white and clean and set securely in the gum.
Signs of oral disease in your pet might include brown tarter on their teeth, an odor coming from their mouth, or redness and swelling of their gums. Signs of more severe dental disease can include loose teeth, bleeding of the gums, and recession of the gums with exposure of the root of the tooth causing pain and infection. Any dog or cat can develop oral disease although some breeds are more prone to having problems. Some breeds that are more likely to develop dental disease include but are not limited to: Yorkshire Terriers, Dachshunds, Toy Poodles, and Maltese.
Cats can also develop dental disease. Because cats can often be more difficult to examine, oral disease in cats is not always noticed until they are in pain or become sick. Cats are also more likely to develop a condition caused stomatitis, which is described as inflammation of the oral cavity. When cats have stomatitis, they can have tooth resorption, severe ulcers, and excessive drooling. With tooth resorption the gums appear to be growing over the teeth. This is very painful for cats and unfortunately the only treatment for this is sedation and removal of the teeth that are affected.Stomatitis can also be a sign of an underlying disease such as Feline Leukemia or Feline Immunodeficiency Virus.
Oral masses are common in both dogs and cats.Oral masses can cause pain and difficulty eating and drinking. The masses can usually be removed with sedation and should be analyzed by pathologists to determine if they are benign or malignant.One last thought, avoid poor quality treats that are high calorie low quality foods like ice cream, cookies, etc.