PVMA: Preventive Care is Key in Protecting Pets from Periodontal Disease

Feb 04, 2014, 10:35 ET from Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association (PVMA)

HUMMELSTOWN, Pa., Feb. 4, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Periodontal disease is the most common illness veterinarians find among companion animals, yet it's completely preventable. Untreated oral disease can lead to infection of your pet's heart, lungs, and kidneys. Most owners don't think that oral health in pets is important, yet left untreated, periodontal disease can be much more expensive to correct down the road or even fatal.

Many veterinary offices offer dental exams as part of an annual wellness check-up, but pet owners can also do regular checks at home. In examining your pet's mouth, look for warning signs which can include continued bad breath, brownish teeth, red, swollen or bleeding gums, loose or broken teeth, pus near the gum line, and reluctance to eat or drink cold water. If one or more of these symptoms are present, contact your veterinarian.

You can also perform basic oral care at home. Dry dog foods and hard biscuits and treats can help scrape the teeth clean through normal chewing. Tooth brushing is the most effective prevention and should ideally be started when the pet is young if possible. Ultrasoft human toothbrushes can be used or one designed for cats and dogs. Always be sure to use a toothpaste designed for pets to avoid upsetting their stomachs. You can find a list of approved products for animals at www.vohc.org.

Download PVMA's Dental Health fact sheet at www.pavma.org and click on For Pet Owners. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) also has a step-by-step video on brushing your pet's teeth available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wB3GIAgrTPE.

The Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association (PVMA) is the only statewide professional organization of over 2,200 members of the veterinary team from across the Commonwealth. The association, which was established in 1883, strives to advance animal welfare and human health while ensuring the vitality of the veterinary profession. PVMA's website is available at www.pavma.org.

SOURCE Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association (PVMA)