Our veterinarians at Fairway Knolls Veterinary Hospital in Bloomington strive to provide a variety of veterinary services for pets to stay healthy and enjoy long, happy lives. Dental care for your pet is an important part of basic healthcare as it affects appetite, nutrition, and grooming. We recommend starting with an annual cat or dog teeth cleaning and exam to maintain healthy teeth and gums. Let’s look at some of the questions that we run into regarding pet dental care.
Q: Besides an annual cleaning and exam, what can I do to keep up with my pet’s dental health at home?
Cat and dog teeth cleaning appointments should be kept yearly to professionally remove any tartar buildup and assess the mouth for gum disease, stomatitis, broken or missing teeth, and other dental problems. Between visits, you can keep plaque at bay by making brushing your pet’s teeth a habit at home. Start as soon as possible to get your pet used to allowing you to brush their teeth and reward them afterward. Be sure to avoid brushing too hard, but concentrate your cleaning along the gum line to clear away any plaque and bacteria that tend to build up there.
Q: How does gum disease happen?
Like our own mouths, our pets’ mouths are home to bacteria. When plaque builds up on the teeth along the gum line, under the gums, and in the pockets between the teeth, bacteria collects there as well and grows. This leads to inflammation of the gums, bleeding, soreness and pain, and eventually missing teeth. The pain and irritation may cause your pet to stop eating and drinking, stop grooming, and act listless or depressed. The pet should be seen by a veterinarian, preferably before this point.
Q: What are some dental problems my pet may suffer from?
Besides periodontal disease, your pet can develop stomatitis. Signs of this condition look similar to gum disease but also extend to inflammation and redness on the tongue and spots inside the cheeks. Stomatitis is thought to be triggered by a virus and spreads rapidly between pets who use the same food dishes and have frequent contact.
This condition is not curable at this point and tends to come back, but the good news is that a veterinarian can prescribe antibiotics to treat the symptoms and eliminate the pain. In other cases, your pet may suffer trauma that can fracture the teeth or jaw causing other damage to the mouth, which needs to be addressed with a thorough examination and treatment.
Get Quality Pet Dental Care in Bloomington, IL
Call our team at Fairway Knolls Veterinary Hospital today at (309) 663-1414 to schedule an appointment for a pet dental check-up with one of our veterinarians.