If your dog suffers from periodontal disease then they will have a buildup of bacteria on their teeth and gums which can lead to serious complications. Today our Clinton Township veterinary dentists talk about preventing periodontal disease in dogs and what signs to watch for.
The Effects of Periodontal Disease in Dogs
Periodontal disease goes by more than one name. You may also hear your vet refer to periodontitis or gum disease. All three of these terms are used for the same condition. Periodontal disease is caused by a buildup of bacteria that can infect your dog's mouth and start to cause a variety of issues. Unfortunately, the signs of gum disease do not typically appear until the disease is in its later stages.
When the symptoms of periodontal disease do begin to show, your dog may already be experiencing ongoing pain, tooth loss, gum erosion, or even bone loss as the supporting structures of your dog's teeth are weakened or lost.
What are the causes of dog periodontal disease?
Every time your dog eats there is bacteria and debris that build up on their teeth. This bacteria combined with the minerals present and can harden into a hard substance. This substance is called tartar. Once tartar forms on your dog's teeth, it becomes more difficult to scrape away.
When left untreated the tartar will continue to build up and eventually pull the gums away from the teeth, causing pockets in the gums where bacteria can grow and become infected. At this stage, abscesses may begin to form, tissue and bone deterioration can occur, and your dog's teeth may start to loosen and fall out.
If you have a small breed of dog, this condition may actually lead to the occurrence of jaw fractures.
The development of periodontal disease in dogs can also be associated with poor nutrition and diet in some dogs. Other factors that may contribute to the development of periodontal disease in dogs can include dirty toys, excessive grooming habits, and crowded teeth.
Commonly Seen Symptoms of Periodontal Disease in Dogs
There are typically few or no signs at all of periodontal disease while the condition is in the early stages. If this condition becomes more advanced then you may begin to spot the following symptoms:
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Loose or missing teeth teeth
- Blood on chew toys or in the water bowl
- Excessive drooling
- Favoring one side of the mouth when chewing
- Reduced appetite
- Discolored teeth (yellow or brown)
- Inflamed or bleeding gums
- Problems keeping food in the mouth
- Weight loss
- Bloody or “ropey” saliva
Periodontal disease is capable of causing serious health concerns for your pup. Once the disease reaches the advanced stages your dog could be experiencing significant chronic pain, but that's not all.
The bacteria associated with periodontal disease can also travel throughout your dog's body, potentially causing problems with major organs and leading to serious medical issues such as heart disease.
How will the veterinary dentist treat periodontal disease?
If your dog is developing or suffering from the symptoms of periodontal disease your Clinton Township dog or cat dentist may recommend professional cleaning or other treatments depending on the severity of your dog's oral health problems.
The cost of your dog's dental care will vary depending on the treatment required and the individual vet.
For your vet to perform a thorough examination of your dog's teeth and gums, as well as any treatments necessary, the use of anesthesia will be required. (Pre-anesthesia blood work is also an important step to determine whether your pet is healthy enough for anesthesia medications).
Dental procedures for dogs typically include:
- IV catheter and IV fluids
- Dental radiographs (x-rays)
- Pre-anesthesia blood work
- Endotracheal intubation, inhaled anesthetic, and oxygen
- Circulating warm air to ensure the patient remains warm while under anesthesia
- Anesthesia monitoring
- Scaling, polishing, and lavage of gingival areas
- Extractions as required (with local anesthesia such as novocaine)
- Pain medication during and post-procedure
What are some ways to prevent dogs from developing periodontal disease?
If still in the earlier stages of the disease, it can be treated and effectively reversed. There are two key approaches to caring for your dog's oral health.
Routine Dental Care with the Pet Dentist in Clinton Township
To help prevent periodontal disease in your dog, be sure not to neglect your dog's oral health. Routine oral care including professional exams and cleanings is crucial for the prevention, early detection and treatment of various dental concerns including periodontal disease.
Your dog's dental appointments at the vet are just like taking your dog to see a dentist. It is recommended that most dogs see their pet dentist in Clinton Township about every six months for an oral health evaluation.
These appointments provide you with an opportunity to speak to your dog dentist about any concerns you may have about your dog's teeth or overall health.
At-Home Dental Care For Your Companion
To prevent problems from taking hold between appointments brush your dog’s teeth daily to remove plaque and prevent bacteria from forming. You may also want to offer your dog specially formulated dental chews and dog food, as well as supply your dog with fun-to-chew dental care toys to help address dental disease and reduce the buildup of tartar.
If your dog is showing signs of periodontal disease such as swollen or inflamed gums, appetite changes, or missing teeth, book an appointment with your vet as soon as possible. Remember that oral health issues in dogs can be very painful.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.