Periodontal Disease in Dogs – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
Periodontal disease in dogs is the most common clinical condition in dogs and cats. This is a silent condition characterized by an inflammation of the supporting structures of the teeth (gingivitis) and the loss of bone and soft tissue around the teeth (periodontitis). The disease can be easily treated and prevented. However, most of the time, the owner of a pet will not realize that there is periodontal disease developing in their pet´s mouth.
In more advanced cases of the disease, there are problems in the oral cavity and damage to internal organs. Usually, untreated periodontal disease can lead to abscesses, tooth loss, bone loss, or infection.
What are the causes of Periodontal Disease in Dogs?
The infection is caused by bacteria located in the teeth and the tissues around the teeth. Every time the dog eats, a film of protein, fat, and carbohydrates forms around the teeth, known as pellicle. Bacteria house themselves inside this film producing plaque. Through the action of calcium and other minerals, this plaque will solidify into a hardened substance,
This plaque continues to accumulate and the bacteria begin to infect the tissue surrounding the teeth. All this is known as periodontal disease.
Some factors that contribute to the formation of plaque, and, consequently periodontal disease in dogs are:
- Teeth-cleaning habits
- Age and status
- Home care
- Mouth environment
What are the symptoms I should be looking for?
The first sign of periodontal disease in dogs is bad breath. This is probably the most evident sign. Typically, an owner will still not be able to detect the disease by simple breath smelling. However, other signs you should be looking for are:
- Bleeding gums
- Pawing at the mouth
- Loose teeth (or missing)
- Loss of appetite
- Excess salivation
- Pus around the tooth
- Inflamed and red gum
What is the treatment for Periodontal Disease in Dogs?
The treatment will depend on how severe the periodontal disease is. So, if you suspect or have seen any of the symptoms described above, take your dog to the veterinarian. If your dog has Grade I or Grade II, the dentist will perform a general mouth cleaning and thorough tooth brushing, along with tartar removal. Grades III and IV require a series of other procedures. Now, to avoid spending money on a disease that could have been treated on time, make sure your dog has good oral habits and a proper diet.
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