If left untreated periodontal disease has the ability to cause further complications that can affect the entire body of your dog. Here, our Little Elm vets explain what periodontal disease is in dogs, what the signs are and how it is treated.
What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontitis is a bacteria that has the ability to attack your dog’s oral cavity, silently invading the mouth. Unfortunately, there may not be any signs of this condition until the disease has already advanced.
However, if your dog is experiencing gum disease then they may show obvious symptoms of the condition that can impact the function of your dog’s mouth, not to mention his health: gum erosion, chronic pain and bone or tooth loss may occur. Structures that support the teeth may also be weakened or lost.
Tartar occurs when the food and bacteria within your dog's mouth stick to the gumline of your dog and hardens. This tartar, if continued to be left untreated will turn into the first stages of gum disease: inflammation and irritation of the gum line and surrounding areas (a condition also known as gingivitis).
Common Signs of Periodontal Disease in Dogs
Some of the most common symptoms of periodontal disease in dogs that you should be aware of include:
- Excessive drooling
- Blood in water bowl or on chew toys
- Yellow or brown teeth
- Inflamed or bleeding gums
- Bad breath
- Loose teeth
- Missing teeth
- Weight loss
- “Ropey” or bloody saliva
- Reluctance to eat
Once these symptoms appear your dog is more likely to have already been experiencing consistent pain and the disease is already advanced. If your dog is displaying symptoms of periodontal disease contact your vet to book an examination for your pooch.
How Periodontal Disease Affects Your Dog's Overall Health
Dental health can have a great effect on the overall health of your dog, and once the disease has affected the mouth it can begin to spread to other areas eventually having a negative effect on the heart. This is because bacteria in the mouth can enter the bloodstream and surround the heart.
Typical Causes of Canine Periodontal Disease
Inside your dog's mouth, bacteria can develop into plaque, which combines with other minerals and hardens into calculus within two to three days. This tartar that forms on the teeth is more difficult to scrape away.
As the immune system fights this buildup of bacteria, reactions such as inflamed gums and more prevalent signs of gum disease can occur.
Poor nutrition and diet can contribute to the development of periodontal disease, as can environmental factors such as grooming habits, crowded teeth, dirty toys, and oral hygiene.
How Periodontal Disease in Dogs is Treated
Costs of dental procedures can vary widely, depending on the particular services your veterinarian provides, your pet’s requirements, and other factors. Blood work will be required prior to dental treatment in order to ensure your pup is healthy enough to handle the general anesthetic, which can cause problems for dogs with organ issues.
The following items are typically included in the price of your dog's dental procedure:
- Complete set of dental radiographs (X-rays)
- Pre-anesthesia blood work
- IV fluids and IV catheter
- Pre-anesthesia blood work
- Endotracheal intubation, inhaled anesthetic and oxygen
- Circulation of warm air to keep pet warm while under anesthesia
- Monitoring while under anesthesia
- Scaling, polishing and lavage of gingival areas
- If any extractions are needed, local anesthesia such as novocaine
- Pain medication during and after the procedure
How to Prevent Periodontal Disease in Dogs
Luckily there are ways to prevent periodontal disease from occurring as well as being abb=le to successfully treat it if it is diagnosed early. When looking after your dog’s oral health, be proactive - don’t neglect it or procrastinate on consulting your vet or scheduling regular appointments.
Similar to their humans, dogs need regular dental checkups to maintain oral hygiene and identify any developing issues. Your pup should attend checkups with the vet at least annually to have their oral health assessed. You’ll also have the opportunity to ask any questions you may have about at-home care, and find out how often your pet should attend professional teeth cleanings (those with issues often need to come more frequently).
Prevent issues from developing between appointments by brushing your dog’s teeth daily to prevent plaque and bacteria from developing. Dog-specific toothpaste is available that not only helps to clean your pup's teeth, but also makes each brushing session a pleasure for your pooch. Chew toys, special dog food and dental chews are designed to address or prevent dental disease and reduce tartar buildup.
However, be warned that these don’t replace brushing - consider them an add-on to your pet’s regular oral care routine. If you notice swollen or inflamed gums. loose or missing teeth, or decreased appetite, book an appointment with your vet right away.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.