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Is your cat suffering from dental disease?

 by lucy on 17 Nov 2017 |
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What starts as a little tartar and bad breath can lead to serious health problems for your cat. Periodontal disease is one of the most common issues felines face, but many pet owners do nothing to curb Kitty’s symptoms until they’re in their advanced stages. By knowing the signs of dental disease and taking simple steps to prevent it, you can save your cat’s teeth and gums, as well as some costly trips to the vet.
 
Dental problems begin when food particles and bacteria accumulate along a cat’s gumline. Over time, the plaque forms and calcifies into tartar, which attaches to the tooth enamel and below the gum line. Not only can this cause gingivitis, an inflammatory condition of the gums, but it is also an early stage of periodontal disease. Left unchecked, tartar builds up under the gums and causes them to separate from the teeth, creating perfect breeding grounds for bacteria. Once this happens, your cat will experience periodontal disease that can lead to tissue destruction, pus and even bone loss, as well as other issues as bacteria travel to other parts of his body.
 
The good news is, preventing oral infections is easy. It may sound ludacris, but you can train your cat to let you brush his teeth—without getting maimed. Start by rubbing his teeth with a damp gauze pad, easing into gently massaging his teeth and gums with a toothbrush specifically designed for cats. Always use an animal-safe toothpaste and brush his teeth daily, if possible. Even healthy cats should have their teeth examined by a veterinarian every 12 months— or more often, if your pet is showing signs of dental decay.
 
One of the first symptoms of periodontal disease is reddening of the gums just below your cat’s teeth. Other signs include bad breath, bleeding, drooling, trouble eating, a swollen face, loose or missing teeth, and looking unkempt or failing to groom. If you notice any of these signs, take your cat to the vet as soon as possible. When caught in its early stages, periodontal disease can be treated with daily brushing to control plaque and prevent the gum from detaching from the teeth. Later-stage oral disease requires cleaning the space between the gums and teeth and applying antibiotic gel to keep the space clean. In advanced cases, bone replacement procedures and tissue regeneration may be necessary.
 
The best way to minimize damage to your cat’s mouth is to prevent periodontal disease. Brush your cat’s teeth regularly and take him to the vet for a yearly oral check-up. If you notice any signs something’s wrong, take him to the vet as soon as possible to catch the disease in its early stages. Not only will your cat thank you, but his bad breath will go away, making it even sweeter to cuddle your pet.

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yaron zvi kressel
Israel, kibbutz netzer sereni
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