An important part of keeping your furry friend healthy and happy is ensuring that their teeth and gums are thoroughly examined to check for problems on the surface of the mouth, and also to check for indicators of something more serious in their internal organs as well.
To address the significance of oral health care for pets, the ParkGate Animal Hospital is taking part in National Pet Dental Health Month this February. Dental exams are helpful in identifying the early signs of plaque buildup, gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) as well as dangerous dental issues such as periodontal disease, a disease of the gums which can lead to kidney problems, heart disease, and other health problems.
What is A Dental Exam?
A dental medical exam can vary widely from patient to patient but typically starts with assessing the medical history, where your veterinarian may ask you if you have noticed bad breath, excessive drooling, or pawing at the mouth, which indicates a dental issue.
Your vet will then examine the pet’s head and neck to look for any abnormalities, such as swelling, lumps, pain or enlarged lymph nodes. Next, they will check your pet’s teeth and gums for bleeding, redness, and inflammation.
During a dental exam, your vet will also examine the teeth for a buildup of plaque and tartar, and well as for damage (such as cracks). Plaque buildup is avoidable by doing regular tooth brushing on your pet; once it has progressed to tartar, it can only be removed by a professional teeth cleaning session.
Abnormal lumps and growths will be examined to screen for what could be oral cancers. If any are seen, a biopsy may be recommended to determine if the growth is cancerous.
What are the benefits of a Dental Exam?
Not only is it beneficial for your adult pet to undergo regular dental exams for their overall superficial and internal health, puppies and kittens can also benefit from an exam while they are in the process of teething/losing their baby teeth. Your vet can perform a brief dental exam to make sure their adult teeth are growing in normally. These checkups are ideal for new owners to review tooth brushing tips, as well as get used to these types of exams.
At Home Dental Care
Here are the steps you can take at home to prevent poor health in your dog/cats mouth:
-Daily tooth brushing for a dog or cat:
-At-Home dental rinsing/gels
-Dental chew toys
-Perform routine mouth inspections
-Ensuring their food is specially catered to encourage dental health
Book your dental exam at ParkGate Animal and Bird Hospital from January 24th through February 29th to participate, and receive a free bag of Hills T/D Oral Health dog/cat food!
Click on the links below to learn more about how you can improve the dental (and overall) health of your pets:
This article was written using a variety of sources.