Every February, the veterinary industry focuses on Dental Health for cats and dogs. This year is no different, as Orrville Veterinary Clinic joins in to promote the health and well-being of our patients (your special pets!).
Why is dental health a focus for the veterinary industry?
We focus on oral health, as it is often one of the more neglected areas of pet care for most of our animals.
The mouth is truly the pathway to the body. The mouth has many defense mechanisms that serve to fight off diseases and bacteria. These include saliva and the relatively tight mucous membranes (gums). The saliva tends to kill off some bacteria, while the tight gums prevent the bacteria from entering the blood stream. Another important part of oral health is the natural bacteria that are contained in the mouth of your pet. These bacteria are good when they stay within the digestive system itself, but when there is a disruption of the mouth's normal defenses, this bacteria can enter the blood stream. Once in the bloodstream, the bacteria travels around the body and deposits on places that it was not intended to be. These bacteria set up colonies (families) at these sites and cause major damage over time. The bacteria tend to stick in the small vascular beds (the places where the blood vessels are smallest for exchanging nutrients). These areas are located in the major organs: liver, heart, lung and kidneys. Once the bacteria gets to these areas, it begins to cause organ damage , eventually leading to organ failure. This is the main reason that dental health is very important. Another reason, or a side benefit, is to improve that bad doggy or kitty breath.
Please call us if you have any questions regarding your pet's dental health. We are always happy to perfomr an examination and make recommendations based upon what we observe.
There are some huge misconceptions out there that dental care is easy:
- Just give your dog a bone and it will take care of the teeth
- Feed hard food and yoru pet will never have problems.
- Just don't feed canned food, it causes tartar buildup
Unfortunately, the only way to prevent dental problems in cats and dogs is to brush their teeth EVERY DAY!