Your pet’s annual checkup at the Mission Animal & Bird Hospital always includes an evaluation of his or her dental health.

That’s because bacteria and food debris accumulates around your furry family member’s teeth – and if left unchecked, leads to deterioration of the gums and supporting bone structure.  This decay leads to irreversible periodontal disease and, ultimately, to abscesses and potential tooth loss.

Dental disease also affects other organs in your pet’s body.  Bacteria in the mouth can get into the bloodstream, which may result in serious kidney infections, liver disease, lung disease, and heart-valve disease.  And oral problems can also indicate other problems elsewhere in your pet’s body.

When we see oral disease in your pet, we may recommend appropriate lab tests to determine what else may be happening.

The Mission Animal & Bird Hospital animal health-care professionals can recommend and demonstrate effective preventive measures you can practice at home. These practices help extend your pet’s life and health, and can also help you avoid costly dental procedures!

According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have oral disease by the age of 3. It is the most frequently diagnosed health problem in pets.

Common signs of oral disease include tartar buildup, red and swollen gums, bad breath, changes in eating or chewing habits, pawing at the face and generalized depression.