Pet Dental Services Provided By Your Veterinarian in the West End
Strong, healthy teeth are a sign of a strong, healthy pet. If your pet's teeth and gums are decayed and infected, it is probably painful and difficult for them to chew food, drink water and sleep comfortably. In addition, bad oral health in pets may lead to infections elsewhere in the pet's body if oral bacteria infiltrate the bloodstream. To ensure your pet enjoys healthy teeth and gums, your Glen Allen veterinarian urges dog and cat owners to schedule regular teeth cleaning and dental exams at Short Pump Animal Hospital.
Common Pet Dental Problems
Dogs and cats suffer from the same teeth and gum diseases that humans do. Accumulation of plaque on teeth at the gum line usually leads to cavities, tooth decay and gum disease (gingivitis). If left untreated, gingivitis and tooth decay progress into periodontitis, a particularly severe oral disease that causes tooth loss, bleeding gums and abscesses.
Cats with poor oral health can suffer stomatitis, a painful inflammation of the mouth's mucous membranes. Signs of feline stomatitis include halitosis, inflamed gums, and swelling of throat tissues. Advanced feline stomatitis can make it difficult for cats to eat and swallow. Cats with stomatitis may also have tooth resorption, a condition involving inflamed gums growing into or engulfing the tooth.
How Do We Perform a Pet Dental Exam?
If your pet lets you brush her or his teeth, that is wonderful. Unfortunately, most of our pets will not allow this on a consistent basis. Even with good dental care, many pets will need to have their teeth professionally cleaned and polished at some point in their lifetime. Our doctors and staff will advise you on how to best care for your pet's teeth.
If a dental cleaning procedure is performed at Short Pump Animal Hospital, a trained Licensed Veterinary Technician does the dental cleaning and polishing while a doctor diagnoses any problems and performs any treatments deemed necessary. General anesthesia is used for all our major procedures.
So that pets receive thorough dental exams, vets administer a sedative to pets before the exam begins. A typical pet dental exam takes less than 30 minutes unless treatment is needed to fill cavities, extract teeth or perform other oral procedures. During your pet's dental exam, your veterinary technician will look for:
- Loose, broken or chipped teeth
- Retained baby teeth/extra teeth
- Gum infections
- Bleeding gums
- Any abnormalities in the mouth
In addition, x-rays may be taken of your pet's mouth if your vet suspects impacted teeth, severe infection, palate defects or other problems requiring further treatment.
Causes of Dental Problems in Dogs and Cats
Cheaper, generic pet food typically contains high amounts of fillers such as soy glutens and corn that leave tooth-decaying particles on teeth. Although pets should have their teeth professionally cleaned at least once a year to avoid dental issues, a rapid development of tooth decay and gum disease is clearly associated with highly processed dog and cat food. Feeding your pet protein-rich food that does not contain fillers may help reduce the risk of periodontitis or stomatitis in pets.
Bring Your Pets to Our Veterinarians in the West End for Pet Dental Services
Your Glen Allen veterinarian invites pet owners to learn more about pet dental care services at Short Pump Animal Hospital by calling at (804) 360-0100 to speak to a vet technician or to schedule an appointment.