How Do I Know If My Pet Has Dental Disease?

February 16, 2018

From the Desk of Dr. Lisette Wigton, DVM and Veterinary Assistant Department Head:

They sleep in our bed, cuddle on the sofa with us and follow us everywhere we go. Are you finding this close contact with your pet to be less than desirable due to a foul odor they emit? Is the odor of your dog or cat’s breath causing you to take pause and push them away? If so, this odor could be an indicator of something much more serious happening in your pet’s mouth.  There are a number of clues to look for when determining if a pet may have oral pain and/or disease.

Because they can’t tell us they have a toothache, here are some signs to look for:

  • Does your pet, who was once right in your lap ready to snuggle, now pull away when any attempt is made to touch or come near their head?
  • Do they stand and pause at the kibbles in their food dish, walk away, eat at the very end of the day very slowly or drop kibble when they are eating?
  • Are you noticing loss of weight, even subtle or reduction in their desire to play and run around?
  • Do they drool more frequently and if so, is there any blood discoloration in the saliva?
  • If they allow you to look into their mouths, are the teeth discolored, can you see the teeth, are any missing or loose?
  • Are the gums thick and pulling off the tooth or brighter pink than you have seen before?

cat, pet, sleeping,

If your pet is exhibiting any of these symptoms a veterinary exam is needed to evaluate the mouth and oral cavity and determine if your pet needs a professional cleaning. With advanced periodontal disease, no amount of tooth brushing will reverse the disease process. Our pets instinctually do not show pain and periodontal disease is a painful condition. Many owners are delighted to witness the return of energy and vitality after a professional cleaning once their pets have their oral pain addressed.

For more information on our Veterinary Assistant program, visit our webpage or give us a call at 918.610.0027.