Dental hygiene is as essential for cats and dogs as it is for humans, yet 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show signs of oral disease by age three. Specifically, your cat or dog may have plaque buildup that can lead to further complications, such as periodontal disease or even liver failure, if it is not treated on time. At Methuen Veterinary Hospital in Methuen, MA, we provide dental exams to learn more about your pet’s oral health and provide treatment that can prevent long-term effects.
Causes of Plaque Buildup in Pets
Plaque is a sticky substance that forms in your pet’s mouth shortly after eating due to existing bacteria that mixes with the food and saliva. If plaque hardens and turns into tartar, it can be detrimental for your pet. The tartar usually forms above and below the gumline and appears as yellow or brown stains. Over time, the tartar under the gums pulls the gums away from the tooth, which causes gingivitis. As a result, your pet may experience pain since the disease causes inflammation and an infection. Not only that, but gingivitis also leads to receding gums, bone loss, and tooth loss if it is left untreated.
Signs of Plaque Buildup
Your pet may exhibit various signs of plaque buildup and formation of tartar. At first, you may notice bad breath as well as discolored teeth. Some additional signs of plaque buildup include:
- Bleeding, red, or swollen gums
- Loss of appetite or weight loss
- Difficulty or pain when chewing
- Pus along the gum line or nasal discharge
Treatment for Plaque Buildup
Plaque buildup can be prevented by brushing your pet’s teeth with toothbrushes and toothpaste designed specifically for your pet. Along with that, certain treats and chew toys can help reduce plaque buildup as well. However, once plaque has built up, it can typically be removed during an annual check-up. For cases that are more severe, our vets may recommend antibiotic treatments or oral surgery.
Contact us for an Appointment Today!
If your pet is displaying symptoms of plaque buildup, let our team at Methuen Veterinary Hospital in Methuen, MA, help. We can perform a comprehensive dental exam and provide the necessary treatment to keep your cat or dog happy and healthy. To learn about our services or to schedule your appointment, call our office at (978) 685-8031 today.