Veterinary Nurse Corner – Dental Hygiene

by Handymag

by Gabby Wright SVN and Karolina Szczecina RVN, Station House Vets

As part of our nursing role we offer a variety of nurse clinics on a range of different areas including worming, weight management, senior advice and much more!

This month’s focus is dental hygiene. Periodontal disease is one of the most common clinical conditions in dogs and cats starting off with a build-up of plaque and calculus/tartar (formed from saliva) which can lead to gum inflammation (gingivitis). This can cause bacteraemia (bacteria in the bloodstream), which in severe cases can cause damage to organs like the heart, liver and kidneys.

So how do you know that your pet has dental disease? Common signs to look for include: bad breath, loss of appetite due to pain which then leads to weight loss, swellings on the face, yellow/brown covering on the teeth, swollen or bleeding gums. The best form of management is prevention…

Brushing your pet’s teeth – Ideally this should be done regularly from an early age but older animals often tolerate it well. The best products to use are enzymatic toothpastes as these are more effective at breaking down any debris on the teeth. Never use human toothpaste as this can be toxic!

Chewing toys – A more enjoyable way to help breakdown any plaque or tartar build up. To ensure that the toy won’t cause any damage to teeth, you should be able to push your nail into the surface.

There are also lots of food and water supplements as well as dental sticks available to encourage plaque and tartar breakdown. Excellent oral health can be achieved by combining a variety of these ideas to keep your pet smiling!

For further advice, come and see one of our nurses for a free dental check. For those pets who need treatment, we are offering 10% off all dental treatment under anaesthetic during February.

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