Did you know that over 70% of cats show signs of dental disease by age three? People often don’t notice the poor condition of their cat’s teeth. After all, it can be difficult for pet owners to have a good look in their mouth. Dental disease can lead to the spread of bacteria through the bloodstream, settling in vital organs such as the heart, kidneys and liver and causing serious illness.
During a physical examination, your veterinarian will check the condition of your cat’s teeth and gums. Most cats over the age of three show some signs of dental disease and require a dental cleaning. Regular check-ups and cleaning can help to preserve the state of your cat’s oral health.
What kind of dental care will my cat need over its lifetime?
There are two critical components of your cat’s veterinary dental care: oral examinations and dental hygiene. Veterinary dental care begins at the kitten life stage. AAHA recommends that veterinarians evaluate kittens for problems related to the deciduous (baby) teeth, missing or extra teeth, swellings, and oral development. As your pet ages, we will look for developmental anomalies, the accumulation of plaque and tartar, periodontal disease and oral tumours. Veterinarians can perform a basic oral examination on patients that are awake. However, a short-lasting anesthetic is required in order to provide a complete and thorough examination, full-mouth dental x-rays, as well as dental cleanings.
A Registered Veterinary Technician can provide a demonstration on how to brush your cat’s teeth at home. This service is complimentary with any dental examination or procedure. Dental care patients will also receive a complimentary home care kit.
What are signs of dental problems in cats?
If you see redness of the gums, tartar on the teeth and smell a foul odour, your pet needs your help. One of our veterinarians can perform an evaluation of your pet’s oral cavity and schedule a dental appointment. Symptoms of Dental Disease to Look For At Home:
- Smelly breath
- Tartar build-up
- Red or swollen gums
- Chewing only on one side of the mouth
- Eating only wet food or reduced appetite
- Staring at the food bowl/hesitates to eat
- Facial swelling
- Rubbing or pawing at one side of the face
- Reluctance to have their face touched
What to expect when your cat undergoes a dental procedure at Annex Animal Hospital?
Pre-anesthetic Exam and Blood Tests: Whenever anesthesia is needed, special considerations are taken to help ensure the safety of your pet. We will thoroughly examine your pet to make sure they are healthy enough to undergo anesthesia. Depending on your cat’s age and general physical condition, we may also run blood, urine, electrocardiograph, and x-ray tests to check for any abnormal conditions in the major organs and body functions. Though there is some risk associated with any medical procedure, modern anesthesia is usually safe, even for older pets.
Anesthesia monitoring: During anesthesia, the monitoring and recording of your pet’s vital signs (such as body temperature, heart rate, blood pressure and respiration, as well as other important factors) are important. This helps ensure the safety of your pet while undergoing anesthesia.
Digital Dental Radiographs: Radiographs (x-rays) of the teeth are needed to completely evaluate your pet’s oral health below the gum line. X-rays aid us greatly in detecting abnormalities that cannot be detected with examination alone. In some cases, x-rays can confirm the need for extraction of teeth that are loose or badly infected.
Scaling & Polishing: We use similar instruments as human dentists to remove plaque and calculus from your pet’s teeth. To smooth out any scratches in the tooth enamel, polishing with a special paste and an enamel sealant so that the build-up of plaque is greatly reduced. This can help strengthen and desensitize teeth, as well as decrease future dental pain and inflammation.
Home Care: We are here to help you in any way we can to maintain your pet’s healthy mouth by coaching you with the right combination of products for you and your pet friend. Contact us today for more information on getting started with an at-home dental care routine for your pet. Remember… pets can live longer, healthier lives if oral health care is managed and maintained throughout their lives. Talk to us about developing a dental care plan for your pet friend.