Cats can experience significant discomfort when they are afflicted with oral health problems, which can also lead to other health complications. Our Marina del Rey vets will detail how you can identify prevalent dental health issues in cats and offer guidance on how to prevent them.
Oral Health In Cats
Your cat's oral health is crucial for their overall wellbeing. Their mouth, teeth, and gums are essential for eating and communicating. If these structures are damaged, diseased, or malfunctioning, your cat may experience pain and have difficulty with basic functions.
Moreover, the bacteria and infections that cause oral health issues can spread to other parts of your cat's body, potentially damaging vital organs like the kidneys, liver, and heart. This could have severe consequences for your feline friend's health and lifespan.
Therefore, it's important to prioritize your cat's oral health to ensure their overall wellbeing.
Signs of Cat Dental Problems
If you observe any of the below symptoms in your cat, they might be experiencing dental disease. While the symptoms vary depending on the condition, these are the most prevalent indicators.
- Bleeding, swollen, or noticeably red gums
- Bad Breath (halitosis)
- Visible tartar
- Missing or loose teeth
- Pawing at their teeth or mouth
- Excessive drooling
- Difficulty with or slow eating
- Weight loss
If you see your cat displaying any of the signs detailed above they could be suffering from a dental health condition, and you should take them to your Marina del Rey vet as quickly as possible for an examination. The sooner your cat's dental disease is diagnosed and treated the better for your cat's recovery and long-term health.
Dental Diseases That Are Common In Cats
While various dental health issues can affect a cat's teeth, gums, and other oral structures, there are three relatively common conditions you need to be aware of.
Did you know that as many as 70% of cats develop periodontal disease by age 3? This condition is caused by bacteria in plaque, which forms on teeth throughout the day from leftover food and other debris. Without regular brushing or cleaning, plaque can harden into tartar above and below the gum line, leading to inflammation and erosion of the structures supporting your cat's teeth. If left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to serious gum infections, tooth loss, and even organ damage as the bacteria spreads throughout your pet's body.
One of the painful conditions that cats suffer from is feline stomatitis. This inflammatory condition affects the gums, cheeks, and tongue of cats, causing ulcers and sores. While Persians and Himalayans are more prone to developing this condition, any cat may experience it. Sadly, cats with stomatitis experience extreme pain and reduced appetite. In severe cases, cats may become malnourished because eating is too painful. Mild cases may be treated with at-home care, but more severe cases may require surgical intervention.
Tooth resorption is a condition where a cat's tooth or teeth gradually deteriorate over time. It's a common issue among cats, especially those who are middle-aged or older, affecting around 75% of them. When a cat experiences tooth resorption, their tooth's hard outer layer starts to break down, causing pain and loosening the tooth. As the damage occurs below the gum line, it's difficult to detect without a dental X-ray. However, if you notice sudden changes in your cat's eating habits, such as preferring soft foods or swallowing food without chewing, it could be a sign of tooth resorption.
Preventing Cat Dental Problems
Keeping your cat's teeth and gums clean is crucial in preventing dental problems. Regular brushing or wiping away plaque can significantly reduce the risk of damage or infection.
It's advised to bring your furry friend in for a professional dental examination and cleaning once a year at Shane Veterinary Medical Center to maintain their oral health.
Starting the process of cleaning your cat's teeth and gums while they are still young is ideal, as they can quickly adjust to the routine. In case your cat is not fond of teeth cleaning, dental treats and foods are available as an alternative to keep their 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.