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Dental Care For Your Pets

Posted October 10, 2012 in Advice Column, West Des Moines

With Halloween nearby, there is much talk about candy and treats and dental care for people.

Did you know that pets need dental care, too? Here are some tips about dental care to help you learn what’s happening in your pets’ mouths:

•    Dental disease is the most common diagnosis in all adult dogs and cats. Sadly, many pet owners don’t realize the need for annual dental care of our dogs and cats. Experts estimate that 80-85 percent of all pets have dental disease by age 3.

•    What’s worse is that many times the disease is hidden within the two-thirds of the tooth that is under the gumline. These hidden problems are a main reason many pet owners forget about the health of their pet’s mouth.

•    Jaw fractures, root abscesses, infection and jaw bone loss are present in 28 – 42 percent of pets without visible tartar. For pets that have tartar, 50 – 70 percent have painful problems hidden within the mouth.

•    Dental X-rays are needed to identify these problems so that treatment can be started.  Unfortunately, many people are unaware of this important diagnostic tool, and not all veterinarians have the equipment.

•    Without dental X-rays, two-thirds of the mouth is unseen, often leaving pockets of infection within the mouth even with a veterinary dental cleaning.

•    It is important to realize that our pets must be anesthetized for this sort of diagnostic tool.  Thankfully, in a modern veterinary practice, this, too, is high tech and very safe.

•    There is no home care option that will take away the tartar that is present in the mouth.

•    Bacteria within tartar gets into the gums and bloodstream and showers to other organs causing kidney, heart, bladder, liver  and/or lung problems. This is the main reason pets with regular anesthetic dental cleanings live three years longer quality life.

Ask your veterinarian about the importance of routine dental cleanings, good imaging and how best to treat dental issues. He or she can also advise you on the proper home care techniques that are effective and do-able, which will help minimize dental disease in your four-legged friend.

Trust a site like www.familypet-vet.com to provide you with accurate pet health information. For questions or a free dental exam, call us: 515-224-9747.

Information provided by Dr. Jen Emerson-Mathis, Family Pet Veterinary Center, 224-9750, familypetvet@gmail.com or familypet-vet.com.





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