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Periodontal Disease in Dogs: Stages & Treatment

Periodontal disease not only negatively impacts the health of your dog's mouth, but it can also impact their overall health and well-being. Here, our Springfield vets explain the disease as well as its symptoms, causes, and treatment options. 

Tooth Decay & Gum Disease

The bacteria periodontitis can attack your dog’s oral cavity, silently invading the mouth. Your pooch may not exhibit pervasive signs or symptoms until the disease is in its advanced stages.

However, gum disease can cause more visible symptoms that can affect the function of your dog's mouth, as well as his health: gum erosion, chronic pain, and bone or tooth loss. Structures that support the teeth may deteriorate or be lost.

When food particles and bacteria that collect along the gum line are not brushed away with regular daily tooth brushing, plaque can develop and harden into calculus (tartar).

In turn, this can lead to the first stages of gum disease: inflammation and irritation of the gum line and surrounding areas (a condition also known as gingivitis).

Signs of Periodontal Disease in Dogs

Some symptoms of canine periodontitis that dog owners should watch for include:

  • Excessive drooling
  • Blthe ood in water bowl or on chew toys
  • Yellow or brown teeth
  • Inflamed or bleeding gums
  • Bad breath 
  • Loose teeth
  • Missing teeth
  • Weight loss
  • “Ropey” or bloody saliva
  • Irritability
  • Reluctance to eat

By the time the symptoms listed above become apparent, your dog is most likely in chronic pain. If your dog is showing signs of periodontal disease, contact your veterinarian to schedule an examination.

Periodontal Disease & Your Dog's Overall Health

Unfortunately, because your dog's dental health is so closely linked to their overall physical health, the effects of periodontal disease aren't limited to the mouth; periodontitis can cause problems in other major organs and even lead to heart disease. This is due to the fact that bacteria from the mouth can enter the bloodstream and surround the heart.

Causes of Canine Periodontal Disease

Bacteria in your dog's mouth can form plaque, which combines with other minerals and hardens into calculus in two to three days. Tartar that forms on the teeth is more difficult to remove.

As the immune system fights this buildup of bacteria, reactions such as inflamed gums and more prevalent signs of gum disease can occur.

Poor nutrition and diet can contribute to the development of periodontal disease, as can environmental factors such as grooming habits, crowded teeth, dirty toys, and oral hygiene.

Treatment of Periodontal Disease for Dogs

The cost of dental procedures can vary greatly depending on the services provided by your veterinarian, your pet's needs, and other factors. Before dental treatment, blood work will be required to ensure your dog is healthy enough to handle the general anesthetic, which can cause problems in dogs with organ issues.

The following items are typically included in the price of your dog's dental procedure:

  • Complete set of dental radiographs (X-rays)
  • Pre-anesthesia blood work
  • IV fluids and IV catheter
  • Pre-anesthesia blood work
  • Endotracheal intubation, inhaled anesthetic, and oxygen
  • Circulation of warm air to keep pet warm while under anesthesia
  • Monitoring while under anesthesia
  • Scaling, polishing, and lavage of gingival areas
  • If any extractions are needed, local anesthesia such as novocaine
  • Pain medication during and after the procedure

Preventing Dog Periodontal Disease

Fortunately, you can help to prevent your pooch from developing periodontal disease, and the condition can be treated and reversed if caught in its early stages. When looking after your dog’s oral health, be proactive - don’t neglect it or procrastinate on consulting your vet or scheduling regular appointments.

Dogs, like humans, require regular dental checkups to maintain oral hygiene and identify any developing problems. Your dog should go to the vet at least once a year to have its oral health checked. You'll also be able to ask any questions you have about at-home care and learn how often your pet should have professional teeth cleanings (those with issues often need to come more frequently).

Prevent issues from developing between appointments by brushing your dog’s teeth daily to prevent plaque and bacteria from developing. Dog-specific toothpaste is available that not only helps to clean your pup's teeth but also makes each brushing session a pleasure for your pooch. Chew toys, special dog food, and dental chews are designed to address or prevent dental disease and reduce tartar buildup.

However, be warned that these don’t replace brushing - consider them an add-on to your pet’s regular oral care routine. If you notice swollen or inflamed gums. loose or missing teeth, or decreased appetite, book an appointment with your vet right away.

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.

Do you suspect your dog has periodontal disease? Contact our Springfield vets today to make an appointment for your dog.

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Greenbrier-Springfield Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Springfield companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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