Archive for the ‘Pet Oral Care’ Category

Dental Care for Rabbits – Bad Breath Bunnies

Friday, February 19th, 2010

bad breath rabbits

Those of you who own those adorable bunnies may not realize how vital proper oral care is for them.  Most people do not know how many teeth rabbits actually have.  Besides the four large incisors, they have two tiny incisors, and six upper and five lower cheek teeth on each side.  Rabbits have teeth that are very much like horses’ teeth.  Their teeth are designed for constant wear because they are open-rooted, so the teeth grow nonstop their whole lives.  Because of this, rabbits need a certain amount of fiber in their diets.

A rabbit who only eats pellets will not be able to achieve the constant wear on the teeth that nature intended for it to have.  This can cause abnormal wear to the teeth and possibly sharp edges and points in the teeth, which could in turn cause cuts to the tissues in the oral cavity.  It may cause malocclusion, which is what is caused when the teeth do not meet correctly.   Malocclusion can cause problems like roots that become impacted, elongated, and inflamed, as well as possible bone infections or “jaw abscess”.  Once rabbits have malocclusion, it is very unlikely that the teeth will ever return to normal, and it may require trips to the vet, tooth trims, and surgery. 

As with humans, tooth problems in rabbits cannot be ignored.  Rabbits are prey animals, meaning they are not designed to show signs any illnesses or problems, so a pet rabbit needs to be brought to a vet (experienced in rabbits) regularly to check its health.  A complete exam may require the rabbit to be under anesthesia.  Also, dogs, cats, and birds are not the only animals that can have bad breath–rabbits can have halitosis as well!  If you notice that your rabbit has excessive salivation, tooth grinding, or bad breath, you should definitely take it in to the vet as soon as you can. 

Aside from bringing your rabbit to the vet 1-2 times a year, you can also make sure it has an appropriate diet.  Some things that you can offer your rabbit to provide a fibrous diet are hay, tree branches, leaves and twigs.  It is also important that all of these are gathered from vegetation that is not treated with herbicides, pesticides, fertilizer, etc.   Also, try to place the branches in water or put them in the freezer overnight to kill any insects. 

Rabbit-safe vegetation:

  • Orange/lemon trees: rabbits should be fed fresh or dried branches
  • Apple trees: fresh or dried branches
  • Willow: fresh or dried branches
  • Maple/ash/pine trees: dried branches
  • Rose canes: remove thorns first, and feed the branches fresh or dried

What are some tips for monitoring the dental health of my rabbit?

  • Make sure your rabbit has a good appetite, eats its daily diet of pellets and veggies, and chews his hay often
  • Monitor any changes in the rabbit’s eating habits
  • In order to check for any abnormalities, feel the left and right sides of the rabbit’s head (meaning in front of the eyes, on the cheekbone below the eyes, under the lower jaw, etc.).  If you notice any lump on one side that is not on the other side, take the rabbit to the vet ASAP.
  • Lift up the rabbit’s upper lips to see if the incisors meet evenly– if not, go to the vet!
  • Under the chin, look for any excessive salivating/wetness (not including moisture from eating veggies, drinking water, etc.)
  • If you can smell rabbit bad breath, go to the vet!
  • Eye/nasal discharge can signify that there are teeth problems
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Bad Breath is a Symptom of Gum Disease in Dogs and Cats

Friday, February 19th, 2010

bad breath in pets

Even though February is National Pet Dental Health Month, proper oral hygiene for pets should be practiced year-round. Bad breath in your pet can be a symptom of an oral health dilemma. Taking your dog or cat to the veterinarian is one of the most important things that you can do to prevent and treat periodontal (gum) disease in your pet. According to sources, an estimated 68% of cats and 78% of dogs that are 3 years of age and older have a form of oral disease.

In recognition of National Pet Dental Health Month, more information is being released for pet owners and vets to help improve or maintain a good level of oral hygiene for their animals. It reminds us of the old saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” All breeds of these animals are susceptible to developing periodontal disease. Studies show that the top breeds of dogs that are predisposed to getting gum disease are the Toy Poodle, Yorkshire Terrier, Maltese, Pomeranian, Shetland Sheepdog, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Papillion, Standard Poodle, Dachshund and Havanese. The disease is most prominent in the following types of cats: the Himalayan, Siamese, and Persian.

Each year that your pet is alive, the risks of developing the disease actually increase 20%. Vets everywhere should insist that pet owners should treat the disease if it is diagnosed, so that it does not become serious.  Let’s not forget that TheraBreath has an excellent oral health formula specifically made for dogs and cats. Stop bad breath in dogs and cats today!

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Does Your Dog Have Bad Breath?

Friday, February 12th, 2010

bad breath in dogs

While most people just accept the fact that their dog’s breath smells like…well, dog breath…what they don’t realize is that odor might signify serious health risks with the potential to damage not only your pooches’ teeth and gums but also its internal organs.  To address the significance of oral health care for pets, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and several other veterinary groups have joined to declare February as National Pet Dental Health Month.

Bacteriologist and fresh breath guru, Dr. Harold Katz, is not only an expert on fresh breath for humans, he is also THE expert on fresh breath for man’s best friend. Dr. Katz is available to come in-studio with his electronic breath testing device, the Halimeter, and measure some pups’ breath on air, giving pet parents sensible tips on how to prevent doggie gum disease and get rid of bad breath in dogs for good!

Katz has been a featured guest on tons of local and national TV shows across the country.  Click here to view his most recent interview on Fox & Friends, and to access his full demo reel: http://www.viddler.com/explore/drkatz/videos/123/.

Thanks for your consideration – let me know what you think!

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February is National Pet Dental Month!

Friday, February 5th, 2010

pet health

February is National Pet Dental Month!  According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats allegedly have symptoms of dental disease by age three!  Beyond that, oral disease is also the most commonly diagnosed health issue for our canine and feline friends.  We may hear about bad breath in pets all the time, but that doesn’t mean that it could be caused by something serious. 

Periodontal disease has the same roots in dogs and cats as it does in people.  Bacteria from food can build up in the oral cavity, and if it’s left untreated, the bacteria cause plaque and tartar buildup on the teeth and gumline.  Over time, if the buildup is neglected, periodontitis can form, which is an irreversible condition involving gum inflammation and infection.  If the gums are inflamed, they become separated from the teeth, thus allowing bacteria to enter and attack the tooth’s root.  Furthermore, bacteria can also enter the bloodstream and venture on over to the heart, liver, kidneys, and other organs, and cause serious problems.

These are all reasons as to why it is very important to be proactive about protecting your pet’s health.  Some warning signs that you can look for in your pet are: bad breath, yellow-brown crust on the teeth, bleeding gums, changes in eating/chewing habits, pawing at the mouth, and/or depression.  These are all potential signs that the pet has an infection, and you should schedule a dental checkup as soon as you can.  If the pet is in good health, one should schedule regular veterinarian visits anyway.   A pet owner should schedule a professional cleaning to have the following done: tartar removal, cavity/growth check, diseased teeth extracted, and tooth polishing.  Tooth polishing helps prevent the formation of new plaque/tartar buildup

You should also practice regular brushing with your pet, and follow a home care regimen.  You can introduce toothpaste to your pets by using a small amount on your finger and rubbing it on their teeth.   Make sure to use a toothpaste that is specially made for cats and dogs.  The next step is to have the pet lick the bristles of a toothbrush with the toothpaste on it.  Then, you can begin brushing its teeth.  This should be done twice every week.  Don’t give up if your pet doesn’t seem willing to have its teeth brushed. 

Also, certain pet foods actually help plaque/tartar removal, so you can look for that in stores.  Ask your pet’s doctor for any advice.  Good luck and spread the word!

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Dog Dental Health

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

A dog’s oral health is a very important part of its overall health.  Dogs usually do not get cavities, but food and bacteria can cause plague problems.  Plague can form tartar along the gumlines, and if that is left untreated, periodontal disease can form causing loose teeth, bone loss, infections, and abscesses.  The bacteria that build along the gumline can enter between the gums and the teeth if pockets are created.  If this happens, the bacteria can enter the bloodstream, which could even infect a dog’s liver, kidneys, and heart valves. 

Regular good oral hygiene is key to preventing gum disease and thus, maintaining good oral health.  A pet owner should examine the dog’s mouth and examine it for periodontal disease symptoms like bad breath (halitosis), abnormal gums (bleeding gums, swollen gums, discolored gums, or painful gums), or tartar.  A dog’s teeth should regularly be brushed.

Brushing teeth can get rid of plague but not tartar, and a veterinarian is needed in order to remove tartar.  A routine veterinarian examination includes taking x-rays, cleaning the teeth and gums, and flushing the dog’s mouth with an antibacterial solution. 

Regular veterinarian visits are an intregral part of preventive care and identifying problems before they become severe.  Also, if necessary, dogs can have procedures also available to people: root canals, crowns, braces, etc.

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