Oz: Oral hygiene care for pets can be quite challenging

People assume that their cat’s teeth are just fine, where in fact, cats are especially prone to a dental condition called tooth resorption.

Pet owners have to address the condition of their pet’s teeth at some point.

As humans, we are very used to maintaining our oral hygiene, by brushing at least twice a day.

Any dentist will instruct you to have a professional dental cleaning at least twice a year.

Most animals are not comfortable with their mouth being handled, so maintaining a daily oral hygiene routine for pets is quite challenging and most owners are unable to keep it.

Some pet owners don’t pay any attention to their pet’s dental condition, and sometime detect a problem only when it is advanced.

In dogs it’s easier to notice signs that the teeth need attention by bad breath and discolouration of the teeth by dental tartar and calculus.

A cat’s oral health is often overlooked. Cats are much more finicky about their mouth being opened and handled.

Their teeth are smaller and the changes in them are less visible.

People tend to assume that their cat’s teeth are just fine, where in fact, cats are especially prone to a dental condition called tooth resorption.

The tooth is composed of three parts. The pulp—also known as the root canal, where the tooth blood vessels, nerve and lymph tissue are found.

Around it there is the bony hard tooth called dentin, and the exterior protective layer covering the tooth is called enamel.

Tooth resorption is a very common dental disease in cats, where the enamel and dentin are progressively eroding till the tooth pulp is exposed.

Eventually, the tooth becomes irreparably destroyed.

This condition is very common and affects about 60 per cent of cats at some point of their life, usually after the age of five years old.

This condition is extremely painful, even though cats tend to not show any signs of pain.

The teeth lesions most commonly affect the premolar teeth, although as the disease progresses, more and more teeth are affected.

The tooth resorption starts just under the gum line and spreads from there. Over time, all areas of an affected tooth, from root to crown, may become involved.

The exact reason for this condition is still unknown.

Due to the high incidence percentage, there are numerous research studies being conducted trying to identify the cause for the condition and the means for its prevention.

The most common symptoms that cat owners can look for are if the cat tends to swallow the food without chewing it.

Tilting the head while eating and chewing only on one side of the mouth, sudden preference for strictly soft food and, in very advanced conditions, the cat may lose its appetite.

Diagnosis is done by a combination of visual, tactile and radiographic means.

The lesions will usually start out as little erosions along the gumline with associated inflammation and redness of the gums in the area.

They can progress to large holes in the teeth, and eventually can destroy most of the tooth.

In severe cases, the entire crown of the tooth can be lost and the gums tend to overgrow and overlap the missing tooth.

The most common treatment for the condition is by extracting the affected tooth.

An annual routine oral exam by your veterinarian is very recommended.

Your cat cannot voice its pain to you. Your cat may be under a great deal of pain every time it eats, or when something just touches its teeth.

Take your cat to be checked by its doctor and put your mind at ease that you’re not overlooking and missing a silent, yet severe, disease.

Just Posted

Two people safe after falling through ice

Kelowna Fire Department urges caution around icy waters during warm weather

Missing Kelowna woman sought

RCMP are asking for assistance in locating Christine Olsen-Meissnitzer

Plane lands safely after takeoff issue

An airplane departing Kelowna International Airport had an issue with a landing gear, landed safely

KSS rocks and rolls for 37th straight year

Kelowna secondary students let loose with annual Air Bank competition

YMCA launches teen program for mental health

Starting April 5, the Kelowna Family Y will host its first run of Mind Fit

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Captain Cal Foote is Rockets’ MVP

The Rockets hand out their annual team awards Sunday at Kelowna Community Theatre

Anti-pipeline protestors block Kinder Morgan tanker near Seattle

Protest was spurred on by the 28 anti-Kinder Morgan activists arrested in Burnaby

Some surprises in new book about B.C. labour movement

“On the Line” charts history of the union movement back to the 1800s

Cancer fundraiser takes to Okanagan Lake

Penticton and Naramata joining growing fundraising event

Elke’s Garden Tips: Good time to prepare

Lake Country garden columnist talks about what to do at this time of the year

Letter: Crying fowl over goose cull witness

Kelowna letter-writer says Canada geese come with many issues

Letter: I was born in Kelowna in 1930…

Kelowna letter-writer has some ideas on how things should run nowadays

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Most Read