Schertz Animal Hospital’s Blog
The Real Deal About Periodontal Disease in Pets
Your pet may not need to be camera ready all the time, but their “smile” does matter. What starts as a little bad breath and tartar buildup can quickly progress to full blown periodontal disease, if left untreated.
Periodontal disease is defined as the progressive inflammation of the supporting structures of the tooth. It happens when gingivitis – inflammation of the gums – combines with inflammation of the tooth root and bone to result in periodontitis.
Periodontitis is the most common cause of tooth loss in pets, affecting over 85% of pets by the age of 4. Schertz Animal Hospital looks at causes of periodontal disease and how to treat and prevent it in your pets.
Periodontal Disease in Pets
- Periodontitis starts when bacteria and food particles combine to form plaque on the teeth.
- Minerals in the pet’s saliva bond with the plaque, and it hardens into tartar within a few days.
- The bacteria then work their way under the gumline, causing inflammation and gingivitis.
- Once under the gums, the bacteria erode the supporting structures of the teeth, resulting in tooth loss.
The bacteria associated with periodontal disease doesn’t just stay in your pet’s mouth, though. it is swallowed and travels to the internal organs, causing problems with the liver, heart, and kidneys. in humans, studies show that periodontal disease leads to shorter lifespans, and there is some evidence that this is true for pets, as well.
Your veterinarian can observe certain signs of periodontal disease, such as gingivitis, with a thorough dental exam. but because most of periodontitis occurs below the gumline, anesthesia is needed to fully assess your pet’s dental health.
You may also observe early signs of periodontitis, such as bleeding gums, drooling, pawing at the mouth, bad breath, and difficulty eating (which may manifest as messy eating).
Early periodontitis can be treated with a thorough dental cleaning above and below the gumline as well as polishing any ridges that collect plaque and tartar.
Any loss of the supporting structures of the teeth however is a process that cannot be reversed and will need intervention in one or more of the following ways :
- root canal
- crown restoration
Prevention of Periodontal Disease in Pets
Luckily, we have many preventive approaches to address periodontitis.
Daily tooth brushing at home is a wonderful way to prevent plaque and tartar buildup. a finger brush or small pet toothbrush are very handy tools for this, as is pet toothpaste. Human toothpaste may contain ingredients that can be toxic to pets, and can upset their stomach if swallowed.
Mouth rinses, dental chews, and dental diets may also be recommended to help with removal of plaque and tartar through the abrasive action of chewing. They may also contain enzymes to prevent plaque from accumulating. These products can’t substitute for brushing, though.
Routine dental cleanings are recommended for most pets, and the frequency will depend upon your pet’s overall dental health and the degree of dental disease we see. This preventive care allows us to examine every tooth in detail and ensure that we can treat small problems before they become advanced disease.
Weighing The Benefits
Many owners are concerned about anesthetic safety and the risks associated with dental cleanings under anesthesia. Although there is always a risk, modern veterinary medicine has made anesthesia safer than ever, with advanced patient monitoring protocols, safer anesthetics, and human-grade equipment. Our veterinary technicians take your pet’s safety and comfort seriously.
Anesthesia free dental cleanings are ineffective since animals don’t generally cooperate with having the tooth structures examined and their gum line cleaned. Without addressing periodontal disease below the gums, the bacteria and tartar that continue to cause disease and discomfort are left to do damage, even after the “cleaning”.
If you have any questions about periodontal disease in pets, or would like more information, please contact us. We’re here to help give your pet a lifetime of good oral health.
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I LOVE Dr. Mossberg. He and the staff are Amazing and SOOO CARING! They are the BEST — M. Lerma
Dr. Mossburg is WONDERFUL! He is so patient! Answers all my questions. I don't feel rushed. He is just so awesome with our Sophie! — S. Cobarruvias
This is the only place I trust with my girl. They always take great care of my Yorkie. — A Byrd
We can't say enough about Schertz Animal Hospital. Dr. Rodriguez and the whole staff are wonderful and so caring. — P. Ring
This is a wonderful animal hospital. Will highly recommend them for anyone who loves and cares about their pets. — B. Lewis
Have taken our pets there for years. Dr. R. Is the best. We appreciate him and the rest of his hard working staff. — C. Yeary
These are our first pets and first ever Vet visit. We are very pleased with the attention, knowledge, and quality of care. Very pleased with our decision!. — J. Tibbetts
We love the care the staff provides, they are big enough to provide services without having to wait long for an appointment, but still make you feel like family. Love this place. — T. Ha
Took my cat in today on an emergency basis and they were so helpful and kind. They have done what they can for him. I have a dog too and this is the only place I will be taking her to. Best vet we have ever been too. — L. Hamilton
Exceptional customer service and great care of my Sammy! Dr. Rodriguez "Dr. R" is the BEST! — A. Garcia
We absolutely love Schertz Animal Hospital for our puppy! They are so caring and take good care of our Bella. — P. Willard
The entire staff is friendly to me and my Bradley. I feel that my Bradley is in good hands. — A. Cano
Love Schertz Animal Hospital. The staff are all friendly and helpful. Dr. Mossburg is thorough and caring. We have taken 3 of our rescues there. Most recently our 7 year old Rottweiler we rescued. They have always taken excellent care of them. — A. Peterson
Schertz Animal Hospital really cares about your pet. They know their stuff. They been in Schertz for many years. All the doctors really know how to relate to us as they are pet owners too. I highly recommend them for all your Veterinary needs. You won't be sorry. SAH thank you for taking such great care of my Service Dog. — K. Duchess
Schertz Animal Hospital is a group of some of the most selfless people. They have been so attentive and caring to my pups, literally dropping everything to care for their needs. I am blessed and ever so grateful to have this team a part of my little family's life. Alley and Noah looooove you all! Y'all are the bomb dot com! Keep on keepin' on ladies and gents! — A.H
Dr. Mossberg and his assistant, Terri, are outstanding! Rusty can be difficult and they are so patient and kind. My husband and I really appreciate that they go the extra mile! Thank you!!! — T. & M. Taylor
I am totally satisfied with the practices, procedures, and service currently in place and have no recommendation for improvement. — R. Schutte
The front staff are awesome and have great attitudes. Very friendly and approachable. — R. & D. Carter
This is the one place that I feel completely safe with taking my Jasmine too. All of you take good care of her. Thank you. — C. & J. Smith
I appreciate being able to walk in (I did call first) with no appt. The doctor was booked but he still took care of my pet. Kudos to Dr. Rodriguez!! — S. & C. Mag
You are doing everything super good!!! Keep it up!!!! — W. Williams
I have never had a vet office that treats its patients so well, and throughly explains all diagnosis and possible treatment. I have always bragged on this office and will continue to do so. — M. & N. Heller
Always professional, clean atmosphere. — J. Wilson
Love how Dr Rodriguez has a passion for what he does - it makes a huge difference! The staff is friendly and caring - thank you. — Anonymous
Very nice facility that is well kept up. Whenever one of my pets needs medical care,I know I can rely on Schertz Animal Hospital to provide excellent care. — D. & R. Lanier
Dr. Rodriguez and his staff are always pleasant, caring and I feel very confident in the care given to all of our pets! :) — M. & J. Hild