-- Bad breath
-- Tartar buildup on the teeth
-- Swollen, receding or bleeding gums
-- Fractured or abscessed teeth
-- Change in eating habits
A pet should be taken to a veterinarian immediately if it shows any of the above symptoms.
"It's important for pet owners to seek professional veterinary care in addition to providing good oral health care for their pets at home," adds Dr. Smith.
The CVMA recommends these simple steps to ensure proper pet dental health care:
Step 1. Visit a veterinarian at least once a year.
The veterinarian will examine a pet's teeth and gums. Recommendations may be made for cleaning, polishing and other dental care in the hospital and a program of home dental care.
Step 2. Professional dental care.
If a pet already shows evidence of periodontal disease, a professional cleaning is in order. Depending on the pet's age and physical condition, the doctor may recommend blood analyses, radiography or other diagnostic tests to evaluate the heart, liver and kidneys for coexisting disease before proceeding with general anesthesia.
Once a pet is anesthetized, accumulated tartar and calculus are removed by ultrasonic and hand scaling. Radiographs are taken to identify teeth needing fillings or root canals that can be repaired, and teeth that are beyond repair can be extracted. Finally, the teeth are polished to slow down formation of new plaque, tartar and calculus.
It is important that only veterinarians and their trained staff, under direct supervision, perform dental cleaning. Only veterinarians have the knowledge, skills and abilities to diagnose and treat diseases of animals, including dental diseases.
Step 3. Dental care at home.
Regular brushing is critical to any preventive dental program. A special toothbrush and toothpaste for pets are recommended.
Feeding pets a dental diet
|SOURCE California Veterinary Medical Association|
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