Dental issues can really hurt your cat and even affect their overall health. Today, our Grenada veterinary team explains how to recognize dental health issues in your cat, the most common dental diseases in cats, and how to prevent or treat these issues.
Your Cat's Oral Health
Your cat's mouth is important for their health. It helps them eat and communicate. When their mouth, teeth, or gums are sick or hurt, it can make them uncomfortable and affect their ability to eat hand talk.
Furthermore, the bacteria and infections that cause many oral health problems in cats will not stay in your cat's mouth. If left untreated, the infection and bacteria from your cat's mouth may spread throughout their body, causing damage to organs like their kidneys, liver, and heart and having a more severe impact on their overall health and longevity.
Cat Dental Disease Symptoms
Specific symptoms will differ between conditions. However, if you notice any of the following behaviors or symptoms, there is a chance that your cat is showing symptoms of a tooth problem.
Here are some common signs of cat dental problems:
- Bad Breath (halitosis)
- Excessive drooling
- Weight loss
- Difficulty with or slow eating
- Missing or loose teeth
- Visible tartar
- Bleeding, swollen, or noticeably red gums
- Pawing at their teeth or mouth
Bring your cat to your Grenada veterinarian as soon as possible if you notice any of the above signs of dental disease. The sooner your cat's dental disease is identified and treated, the better off they will be in the long run.
Common Cat Dental Diseases
While there is a wide range of health issues that can affect your cat's gums, teeth, and other oral structures, there are three particularly common conditions to watch out for.
About 70% of all cats will develop some form of periodontal disease by the time they reach the age of 3.
This happens because the gems in the sticky later of their teeth are called plaque. If you don't clean this plaque, it turns hard and comes tartar going under their gums.
When bacteria become trapped beneath your cat's gum line and against their teeth, it irritates and erodes the structures that support their teeth. Periodontal disease, if left untreated, will result in a serious infection of your cat's gums, loose and missing teeth, and organ damage as the bacteria spreads throughout his body.
Feline stomatitis is a very painful problem where your cat's gums, cheeks, and tongue become inflamed and form sores.
Persians and Himalayans are predisposed to developing this condition, but any cat can develop stomatitis.
Cats with this problem feel a lot of pain and may not want to eat much. Sometimes, they can become undernourished because eating hurts. If your cat has a mild case, you might be able to take care of it at home. But if it's severe, your cat might need surgery.
Tooth resorption in cats is when their teeth slowly wear away or break in their mouth. It's pretty common in older cats, affecting around three-quarters of them.
When a cat has tooth resorption, the body starts to break down the hard outer layer of the tooth, loosening it and causing pain. Without a dental x-ray, this destruction occurs below your cat's gum line, making it difficult to detect. This condition may be present if your cat suddenly develops a preference for soft foods or swallows their food without chewing.
Preventing Dental Issues in Cats
The best way to keep your cat's teeth healthy is by regularly busing and cleaning their mouth. This helps prevent dental problems like plaque buildup, which can harm their teeth and gums.
To help keep your kitty's teeth in tip-top condition, bring your pet in for a professional dental examination and cleaning once a year. Dental appointments at Veterinary Associates are like taking your kitty for an appointment at the veterinary cat dentist.
To prevent dental issues early on, start nursing your cat's teeth and gyms when they're a kitten. They'll get used to it. If your cat doesn't cooperate, you can use dental treats and special food to help maintain their oral health.
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.