Have you noticed bleeding when you brush your pet’s teeth? Perhaps you have seen blood stains on your furry friend’s favorite chew toy? If you can say yes to either of these questions, then your beloved pet may be suffering from a common but potentially serious problem called periodontal disease.
What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is a dental health condition that is primarily concerned with the health of the gums. The gums play a very important role in the health and retention of teeth. However, when plaque that accumulates on the teeth is not removed by effective brushing, it eventually penetrates under the surface of the gum where it irritates and makes the gums sore and red. Bleeding is also likely. The gums can recede, exposing the tooth roots, putting your pet at risk of jaw bone deterioration and tooth loss. Eventually, the bacteria cause infection, which can travel through the bloodstream to other parts of your pet’s body and affect major organs and body systems.
Isn’t Periodontal Disease a Human Condition?
Periodontal disease can affect both humans and animals alike. While it is relatively common in humans, it is even more prevalent in our pets. In fact, estimates suggest that there is some evidence of the condition in 70% of cats and 90% of dogs by the time they are three years of age.
Symptoms of Pet Periodontal Disease
In addition to bleeding gums, there are a number of other symptoms that could indicate that your pet is suffering from periodontal disease. These include:
– Red, swollen-looking gums
– Persistently bad breath
– Pawing at the face and mouth
– Yellow deposits on the teeth next to the gum line
– Teeth that seem loose or that have fallen out
– Obvious pain when eating
– Dropping food
– Loss of appetite
Sometimes it is very difficult to identify periodontal disease, particularly as the earliest symptoms are very easy to ignore. However, if you ensure that your pet attends her regularly scheduled appointments with our vet, it is much more likely that any signs of periodontal disease will be identified.
Treating Bleeding Gums
If your pet is suffering from bleeding gums, the first thing you should do is get her an appointment with our vet who will be able to determine
– If periodontal disease is the cause
– What stage of periodontal disease your pet has
The degree of your pet’s periodontal disease will determine what treatment is most suitable. Nevertheless, it is important to understand that the damage sustained in later stages of periodontal disease is irreversible, and treatment will be focused on managing symptoms and halting further progression of the condition.
Typical treatment solutions include root canal therapy, periodontal pocket cleaning and in some cases, tooth extraction.
If your pet’s gums are bleeding and you are concerned about the prospect of periodontal disease, contact us and make an appointment with our veterinarian as soon as you can.