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  • MyVet - going the extra mile

Just like you, your pet needs to maintain healthy teeth and gums. But unlike you, they cannot do this by themselves.

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With dental disease extremely common in pets, by the age of three many of them will need dental treatment. Primarily caused by a combination of dietary and genetic factors, thankfully, there are things we can do to help.

Dental hygiene is all about prevention and home care. We have a variety of different ways to help reduce the likelihood of future problems and maintain your pet’s oral health as well as handy advice for care at home.

Book your pet's dental check online

What could be wrong with my pet?

Knowing what dental health problems your pet may suffer with is important so you can help prevent them. They include:

  • Calculus ‘tartar’ – yellow/brown staining, hardened deposits of dental plaque
  • Gingivitis – inflammation of the gums (gums should be ‘salmon pink’, if red, they are inflamed)
  • Periodontitis – inflammation/infection of the tissues that support the tooth in its socket.
  • Resorptive lesions – painful erosive wounds (unique to cats). Also referred to as neck lesions & feline odontoclastic lesions (FORLs).
  • Fractured teeth
  • Infection/abscess

Can it wait?

Most dental cases aren’t a dire emergency. They may have been grumbling away in the background without you noticing for a while. However, dental disease is progressive and things will gradually get worse. The longer the delay, the more likely your pet will suffer irreversible damage – this means potentially more extractions, resulting in a longer anaesthetic and also more expense.

If you can, it is better to get treatment sooner rather than later. If you are insured, be aware that not all companies will cover dental treatment – and those that do may subsequently refuse to pay if work that was recommended by the vet is not carried out promptly.

But my pet seems to be eating so they must be OK!

Not always. A lot of dental problems can start without too much pain and therefore do not cause much disruption to everyday routine, such as eating or sleeping. However, a condition like gingivitis (sore, red gums) could, without treatment, lead to periodontal disease: receding gums, tooth root exposure and infection. This is extremely painful and ultimately, irreversible if overlooked.

Resorptive lesions in cats are particularly painful. Many cats suffer in silence with teeth that have the sensitive ‘core’ of the tooth (pulp cavity) exposed. Fractured/broken teeth can also reveal this and gradually lead to painful inflammation of the tooth (‘pulpitis’).

Dogs and cats rarely yelp if they are in pain. Yelping is normally associated with acute/immediate pain e.g. neck or spinal pain, or treading on a paw. Chronic pain is much harder to spot in cats and dogs – they express extreme discomfort differently from us.

Encouragingly, many owners report back that after the dental work has been done, their pet appears significantly brighter and happier, which means that underlying pain is being resolved. Remember, animals will only stop eating if the pain becomes excruciating.

Book your pet's dental check online

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