Dental disease can cause a variety of painful issues for your cat, not only affecting their oral health but their overall health as well. Today, our Kingman veterinary team talk about the common types of dental disease in cats, what the signs are and how you can prevent it from happening.
Dental Disease in Cats
Ensuring the overall health of your feline friend includes looking out for their oral health. Your cat uses their mouth, teeth, and gums to eat and vocalize, so when its oral structures are diseased or damaged, and stop functioning properly, your cat experiences pain, which will interfere with its ability to eat and communicate normally.
Along with affecting their oral health, dental diseases in cats can result in conditions that can affect all systems of their body. Left untreated the infection and bacteria from your cat's mouth may begin to circulate throughout your pet's body, damaging organs such as their kidneys, liver, and heart and leading to more serious impacts on the overall health and longevity of your feline friend.
Signs of Dental Disease in Cats
The symptoms that your cat experiences will depend on the condition that your cat is suffering from, but the typical set of symptoms can accompany dental disease are listed below:
- 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
If you notice that your cat is experiencing any of the above signs of dental disease, bring them to your Kingman vet as soon as possible for examinations. The sooner your cat's dental disease is diagnosed and treated the better for your cat's long-term health.
The Most Common Types of Dental Disease in Cats
While there is a wide range of health issues that can affect your cat's gums, teeth, and other oral structures, here are some of the types of detal disease that could potentially affect your cat.
Periodontal Disease in Cats
Most cats, by the time are three, will be affected by periodontal disease.
This disease is an infection caused by bacteria found in plaque—the soft film of bacteria and food debris that builds up on teeth over the day. If you don't ensure that this plaque is being cleaned away on a daily basis, it will harden and form tartar that extends below their gum life.
When the bacteria gets trapped below your cat's gum line and against their teeth, it will begin to irritate and erode the structures supporting your kitty's teeth. If untreated, periodontal disease will cause a severe infection of your cat's gums, loose and missing teeth, and organ damage as the bacteria travels throughout your pet's body.
Feline stomatitis is an incredibly painful inflammation and ulceration—opening of sores—of your cat's gums, cheeks, and tongue.
Persians and Himalayans are predisposed to developing this condition but any cat can develop stomatitis.
IF a cat experiences this condition they will most likely experience a lack of appitite due to the pain associated with eating. In some cases, cats will become malnourished because it is so painful for them to eat. If your cat develops a mild case, at-home care might be enough to treat their stomatitis. But severe cases require surgical intervention.
Tooth Resorption in Cats
Tooth resorption in cats describes the gradual destruction of a tooth or multiple teeth in your cat's mouth. This is a fairly common condition in cats, potentially affecting up to three-quarters of middle-aged and older cats.
When a cat suffers from tooth resorption, its body begins to break down its tooth's hard outer layer, loosening it and causing pain. This destruction occurs below your cat's gum line so it can be challenging to detect without a dental x-ray. However, if you notice that your cat is no longer choosing to eat their hard food or are not chewing if they only have access to hard food, they may be suffering from this condition.
How Dental Disease in Cats Can Be Prevented
Brushing and cleaning yoru cats teeth regularly is the main method of prevention for all types of dental diseases in cats. Your cat's teeth and gums will have a much better chance of remaining healthy if plaque is brushed or wiped away before it can cause damage or infection.
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 Cerbat Cliffs Animal Hospital are like taking your kitty for an appointment at the veterinary cat dentist.
To prevent oral health issues from developing in the first place, you should begin cleaning your cat's teeth and gums while they are still a kitten and will be able to quickly adjust to the process. If your cat won't allow you to clean their teeth, dental treats and foods are also available to help you keep your cat's teeth healthy.
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.