Two questions for you… Why do we humans clean our teeth every day? And what would happen if we didn’t?
You only have to look a few years back into history to see what happens.
Bacteria build up on the teeth, the gums get sore and infected and start to recede, infection sets in deeper, teeth turn rotten and fall out, the breath stinks and the pain is horrible.
And or course the knock on effect to overall health is also pretty serious… diarrhoea, kidney and heart disease are three examples. So I suggest you keep brushing and flossing.
And so to our pets. Has anyone tried to clean their cat or dog’s teeth? It’s tricky – I find only a handful of my patients will let their owners clean their teeth each day. So for the majority of pets I can pretty much guarantee that when I examine them at their annual health check I will find some degree of dental disease.
This ranges from the build up of calculus, to inflammation of the gums or more serious receding gums and abscesses. This is all part of periodontal disease. In some pets this is clearly causing pain and in advanced cases I can see that the dental disease is making the cat or dog really very ill.
How mobile vets help pets with dental disease
If your pet has minor dental disease – grade 1 or 2 – the changes are reversible. So, I recommend a regular dental scale and polish, often annually. This helps prevent progression to nastier dental disease and consequences.
I’m a mobile vet, so I can either transport your pet to my hospital base or meet your there. This kind of scale and polish is a relatively short procedure – your pet will stay with us for the day only.
Pets with grade 3 or 4 dental disease have more serious problems and it’s really important for them to get treatment since they are likely to be in pain. Patients with more severe dental problems also require regular dentals to keep the disease at bay and slow the progression as much as possible.
Obviously I prefer to treat pets with grade 1 or 2 disease to stop the problem getting to stage 3 or 4!
But my old dog never visited the vet!
My clients often tell me stories about when they were growing up they had pets that never visited the vet or had any teeth cleaned and they lived till they were 20!
I then ask them if their pets had bad breath… to which they always say ‘well yes’!
I explain that these childhood pets probably didn’t have many or any teeth left, because the teeth had become rotten and loose and fallen out, and along the way their pet had probably had pain and discomfort. The blissful ignorance of the good old days…
Little Lulu’s story
Lulu is a 3 yr old cat I saw for the first time for her annual health check and vaccines. When I touched her cheek she jumped back and chattered her teeth which told me she was in pain. When I opened her mouth I could see her really swollen gums and smell her really bad breath!
I brought her back to our hospital base and sadly I had to remove all her back teeth because she had terribly advanced abscessation and periodontal disease. Her x-ray is the image you see on this page.
When I went to see her a few days later she had NO pain, and did not chatter her teeth or mind me looking in her mouth. Her gums looked great, and her owner said she was happily eating anything she wanted! Although it would have been nice to save her teeth, in this case Lulu is much better off without them and enjoy living a life free from mouth pain.