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Gingivitis and periodontal disease affect a large percentage of cats and dogs over the age of three. We urge pet owners to take action for their pets’ dental health. The same bacteria that can destroy a pet’s teeth, gums and dental support structures can also damage the heart, liver and kidneys if they enter the bloodstream. Our Portland veterinarian recommends that pet owners brush their pets’ teeth daily and bring them in for a thorough pet dental check up and cleaning once a year. This is as critical for preventative healthcare in pets as it is for humans, and is particularly important for senior care.
Periodontal disease in pets starts the same way as it does in humans: bacteria. Every day, a thin film of plaque builds up on the teeth. Comprised of food particles, bacteria and saliva, this plaque can be removed with daily brushing. If not brushed away, however, it hardens into tartar. Tartar becomes a breeding ground for more bacteria, which then invades the gums and can cause disease.
If your pet has bad breath, has lost his or her appetite, paws his or her face or seems to be in pain, please call our Portland veterinarian for a pet dental appointment. This is particularly important for senior care, as older pets’ immune systems are weaker than younger pets. Regular dental care is just as important as a preventative medicine measure for cats and dogs as their scheduled checkups.
During a dental checkup, our Portland veterinarian, Dr. Rick White, along with his trained technician, will evaluate, ultrasonically clean and polish your pet’s teeth under general anesthesia. He can also do extractions, if necessary, with multimodal pain control. Before these procedures, we run a blood screening to detect any underlying health conditions that could complicate the anesthetic process. During and after each procedure, an experienced veterinary technician will continually monitor your pet’s vital signs to ensure all goes well.
In addition to these annual dental checkups, we will be happy to show you how to care for your pet’s teeth at home. With patience, praise and consistency, almost all cats and dogs can be trained to enjoy a dental hygiene routine. We can recommend a special toothbrush and toothpaste designed for your pet. Do not use human toothpastes—they contain ingredients harmful to pets—and pet toothpastes come in flavors pets enjoy. For the first few days, let your pet lick a dab of toothpaste off of the new toothbrush. Eventually, work up to holding the brush while they lick, and then start gently brushing. Do this at the same time every day and soon it will be a healthy habit. We can also suggest dental treats and water additives if necessary.
Call Cedar Mill Veterinary Hospital at 503-644-3101 to schedule a dental checkup for your pet!
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