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February is National Pet Dental Health Month
Date:1/28/2008

California Veterinarians Say Animals, like Humans, Need Regular Teeth

Brushing and Check-ups

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Jan. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Many pet owners spend time walking and grooming their pets but may not think about brushing their pets' teeth. The California Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) reports gingivitis and periodontal disease in dogs and cats have become widespread, and pet owners should take some simple actions to be sure their pet has good oral health.

"We hope 'National Pet Dental Health Month' in February will draw attention to this serious health issue for pets. All pet owners should start a regular dental care routine for their animals in consultation with their veterinarians," said Dr. Jeff Smith, president of the CVMA. "Oral disease can lead to serious consequences for pets, including infection, severe pain and even organ damage. With regular oral health maintenance and check-ups, most of these problems can be avoided."

According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, more than 85 percent of dogs and cats show signs of oral disease by age four. The trouble begins when food particles and bacteria build up in the mouth to form plaque and tartar, which leads to reversible gingivitis. Gingivitis, if ignored, will progress to periodontal disease. Irreversible periodontal disease leads to tooth decay, bad breath, bleeding gums and, in severe cases, tooth loss. When bacteria from periodontal disease travels into a pet's bloodstream, the lungs, heart, kidneys, liver and nervous system can be affected. These infections usually are treatable when caught at an early stage. However, if they are not caught in time, they can cause serious organ damage and even death.

The CVMA says all pets are at risk for developing dental problems, so it is important for owners to have their pets examined by a veterinarian annually to detect problems early. It also is important for owners to check their pe
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SOURCE California Veterinary Medical Association
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