Gum disease in dogs is not only uncomfortable but also painful. Gum Disease, also known as Periodontal Disease, is an inflammation of the support structures around the teeth. It is caused by food particles building up along your dog’s gum line and forming plaque. This plaque forms a calculus which causes irritation and inflammation of the come and causes gingivitis. Gingivitis is the early stage of periodontal disease. Over time the gingivitis can cause bone loss, tissue destruction, pus formations, and cavities. Periodontal disease can happen in both cats and dogs and can affect animals of all ages, it is more common in older animals.
- Inflammation of one or more teeth.
- Inflammation of the gums
- Gum line receding
- Roots of teeth exposed
- Pus pockets
- Sensitivity in their mouth
- Loss of appetite
Most treatments surrounding gingivitis, gum disease, and periodontal disease, involve teeth cleaning. In more advanced cases where an extensive bone loss is involved, you may need to do periodontal splinting or guided tissue regeneration.
A quick story about dental cleanings…
We had a patient at the clinic that had never had his teeth cleaned. The dog was brought in because his breath was terrible and he wasn’t eating well. It was decided that the dog needed to have his teeth professionally cleaned. During the cleaning, a bone fragment was found sticking out of the dog’s gum. When removed, it was discovered that it wasn’t a bone fragment, but an entire mouse leg bone. The bone was covered in years worth of calculus and had fused itself to the palette of the dog’s mouth. Becuase of the lack of dental health care, the dog had been suffering from significant bone loss. When the mouse bone was removed, the dog’s palette collapsed and had to be splinted back together. This sounds painful and horrible, but it was a huge relief for the dog. About a week after the dog went home, the owner called and said their dog was acting like a puppy again. His appetite was back, he was happy and energetic, and his breath didn’t smell.
Regular dental health maintenance can help prevent many issues with your dog from mild bad breath to periodontal disease. Make sure to brush your dog’s teeth weekly and bring them into Vetco for their annual dental cleaning.