Did you know that 80% of dogs and 70% of cats over the age of 2 have periodontal disease? “Bad breath” is not just unpleasant, it is a warning sign of oral disease. Over 1/3 of dogs have a fractured tooth/teeth with some extending into the pulp contributing to pain. In 40% of cats, tooth resorption is present but only found on x-ray leading to the need to extract the affected tooth.
How to know if Your Dog or Cat is in Pain
Animals DO experience pain yet often DO NOT exhibit it in overt ways to make pet owners aware. Broken and diseased teeth are not only painful, they can lead to many other diseases such as heart valve disease, internal organ infections, difficulty controlling diabetes, and more.
Dog Toys can Break Teeth
Did you know that hooves, antlers, nylon bones and animal bones are “tooth breakers”? All of these dog toys are detrimental to your dog’s teeth as they frequently cause tooth fractures which in turn expose the pulp of the tooth. It is the pulp that contains the blood vessels and nerves and when exposed will lead to abscess formation as well as intense pain. It is best to have your dog chew on objects that you can readily bend or indent with a fingernail. Rubber chew toys are often satisfying to the dog without concern for fracturing teeth. Just make sure toys cannot be swallowed.
Did you know that cats commonly have resorptive lesions where the surface (enamel above the gum and dentin below the gum) of the tooth is essentially eroding away leaving exposed nerves and contributing to significant pain. Such lesions may be visible as what appears to be bright red gum tissue “growing” upon the surface of the tooth crown. In other cases, a beautiful crown may have weak or eroded roots only visible with x-ray.
Feline and Canine Periodontal Disease
Did you know that tartar is not “just dirty teeth” but the first step to gingivitis and periodontal disease? If left untreated, the bone supporting the tooth will become affected leading to tooth loss. Dental cleanings with x-rays all under anesthesia permit the veterinarian to get a good assessment of your pet’s oral health.
Oral health is critical to your pet’s overall health and comfort. Have your pet’s mouth professionally examined today to determine if intervention is necessary. Don’t let your pet suffer in silence with dental/oral pain.
Article by By Dr. Paula Schuerer
Dr. Paula Schuerer received her BS in agriculture, DVM and MBA from Mississippi State University and since graduation in 1995 has practiced in the Franklin/Nashville area. Her primary interests are surgery, dentistry, dermtology and small exotic mammal medicine. In 2009, Dr. Scherer became a board certified specialist, per the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners, in Canine and Feline practice. She joins approximately a dozen others within the state of Tennessee that holds this advanced degree. In 2017, Dr. Paula received her MS in biomedical science from the University of Missouri.
“After all these years in practice, I still absolutely love what I do and look forward to what the next challenge is going to be.”