Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Cat Dental Care Explained

In most cases, pet owners can easily realize if their pet has health problems. But the dental issues are not spotted right away. Most animals, like humans, can develop dental disease. As they grow old, many cats have problems with their teeth. Only a vet can know for sure what is wrong, but the pet owners can look after a few signs that could indicate this kind of health problem.

The experts agree that dental issues can de caused by other health problems, so it is very important to see a vet for periodical check-ups, otherwise this problems could degenerate. However, there are a few steps to follow so you can keep your cat’s teeth and gums healthy.

The first step is to get a vet see your cat once a year for a periodical exam, even if it seems healthy. You can’t know for sure, only the vet can tell if it has problems; he would check its teeth and gums, see if it has bad breath, and look for teeth decay. All these could indicate other serious health issues.

Secondly, you should brush your cat’s teeth. You can find toothbrushes and paste at the pet stores. This action should be done daily, but it is enough if you do it twice a week. At first, your cat could not like it, so you can start by brushing only a small part of its mouth, adding more each time. It would be easier if you had a kitten, because starting this at an early age would get it used to this process. Anyway, most cats enjoy the toothpastes’ taste, so this wouldn’t be a problem.

For older cats and those that already have dental problems, you can find specially made rinses that come in flavored sprays and antiseptic gels. It is not indicated to replace the brushing with this product, but it’s very helpful if your cat has tooth decay.

Chewing is also helpful regarding your cat’s dental health. You can find many kinds of products for kitties to chew. Most of them are flavored, so cats really enjoy them. These dental chews have an abrasive texture that helps remove food or plaque that could affect the cat’s teeth. It is recommended to be careful if you want to use bones for this purpose. Some of them can be very sharp, and could harm your kitty’s throat. Also, most vets advise you never give your cat turkey or chicken bones.

It is important to take care of your cat’s teeth. In most cases dental issues indicate other health problems. These can either cause these dental issues, or even be caused by them. Some examples can be Feline Odontoclastic Oral Resorption Lesions (FORL), periodontal disease, malocclusion and feline stomatitis. Most of them can be treated using proper medical care.

Plaque and tartar can build up on cat’s teeth, forcing food remains and bateria around the jawbone and under the gums, causing periodontal disease. This can lead to inflamed, bleeding, swelling gums. This dental disease is most common in cats, and can be cured with antibiotics and cleaning. Also, in some extreme cases, extraction can be necessary.

Another common dental disease found in cats is FORL. This is similar to cavity in humans. Teeth lesions appear first in a tooth enamel. Plaque accumulates and the entire tissue that is around the tooth in question starts to be inflamed. The present irritation can even move towards the pulp with the cavity killing the tooth. In most cases the vet will recomend extraction if your pet is diagnosed with FORL.

A very serios dental disease form in cats is Feline Stomatitis. This usually indicates other severe illness and it is said to be an autoimmune disease. The plaque on the teeth is being rejected by the body, causing allergic reactions. In some cases it can move down into the throat, leading to painful red wounds. Stomatitis can determin a cat to stop eating, this illness making it unconfortable. If your cat suffers from this dental disease, you should see a vet immediately.

At last, we will discuss about another dental condition that can appear at a cat: malocclusion. This means that the teeth alignment is not normal. At humans, malocclusion is treated using braces. When a cat suffers from this disease, it faces difficulties in eating, causing severe weight loss. This illness was hard to treat, but nowadays, as the technology advances, we can fiind specialized vets that are engaged in orthodontics in pets.

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