Archive for the ‘Pets’ Category

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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Bird Bad Breath

Friday, July 10th, 2009

Does Your Bird Have Bad Breath?

Thus far, our posts have mentioned dogs and cats having bad breath…but never have we discussed bad bird breath.  As someone who is a bird owner and avid bird fan, I thought it was necessary.  Birds can have bad breath!

If a bird has bad breath, that is almost always the sign of a bacteria infection, and it needs to see an avian veterinarian.  Generally, foul breath in our avian friends means that there is some abnormality in the gastrointestinal tract, respiratory tract, or even with the oropharynx

If a bird has vitamin-A deficiency, it may be more susceptible to bacterial or yeast infections like Candida sp.  Infections like these can cause halitosis.  Also, a bird’s diet can affect its breath–so don’t give it rotten food/seed.

The bacteria that normally resides in the gastrointestinal tract (like the colon of mammals) are known as coliform bacteria.  Coliform bacteria and other bacteria are accompanied with a fecal-type odor.  If a bird is infected with one type of these bacteria, its breath (if the mouth, crop, or proventriculus has the infection) or its droppings (if the lower gastrointestinal tract has the infection) can develop a strong fecal odor.

Where Do These Bacteria Come From?

People use fertilizer frequently when growing fruits and vegetables, and this is a strong bacterial source.  Soil can also be contaminated with fecal material.  Fruits and vegetables need to be washed properly before a bird eats them, because the bird can ingest the bacteria.

Also, if a bird is in the bathroom when the toilet is flushed, the coliform bacteria can become aerosolized and breathed in by the bird.  Also, bird owners need to wash their hands after using the bathroom before handling their bird. 

Avian Gastric Yeast (AGY, formerly known as megabacteria) can be found in middle of the proventriculus and ventriculus and may also be found in other places of the gastrointestinal tract.  Unfortunately, this is hard to track in live birds, and it can be the cause of bad breath.  An ulcer in the crop, proventriculus or ventriculus that has been contaminated by bacteria can also cause bad breath.

Other Bad Breath Causes

Other gastrointestinal issues can cause halitosis, like Proventricular Dilatation Disease (PDD).  Spirochetes, an unusual type of organism, might cause halitosis, especially in lovebirds.  Both benign and malignant tumors in the gastrointestinal tract can also cause bad breath, especially if they erode or cause ulceration into the GI tract.  These can be diagnosed by a combination of blood work, X-rays, endoscopy, or ultrasound.  Within the GI tract, protozoal infections (i.e. trichomoniasis in the oropharynx, giardia) can be hard to diagnose and may cause bad breath.  Most protozoal infections can be treated with ronidazole. 

Treatment Plan

According to many avian vets, vinegar can by used to help acidify the interior of the proventriculus and ventriculus as well as treat many diseases, mostly in the GI tract.

If your bird has bad breath and any other symptoms, bring it to a vet and have a physical exam and work-up done.  These include: complete blood count; plasma chemistry panel; Gram’s stains of the choana, crop, and cloaca; bacterial and fungal cultures; appropriate serological tests; full-body X-rays and maybe an endoscopy.

Depending on what your avian veterinarian tells you, you can suggest a consultation with a board-certified avian specialist (some veterinary labs will offer this).  If your vet is not experienced enough, you can have them refer you to a referral center or avian specialist. 

Unlike pet mammals and humans, birds do not have teeth (aside from the single egg tooth that is not made of the structures in a mammalian tooth), meaning that the cause of bad breath in birds cannot be attributed to dental and gum disease (usually caused by a bacteria infection).  However, bacterial infections concerning the bird’s gastrointestinal tract or lungs can cause bad breath and impact its health. 

Source: Bird Channel

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Dog Breath Remedy

Monday, July 6th, 2009

Most of us have smelled dog halitosis (bad breath) at one time or another.  It is the result of the foul odor-producing bacteria buildup in a dog’s lungs, gut, or mouth.  Chronic halitosis in a dog can indicate that it needs better dental care or there is a serious issue in its gastrointestinal tract, kidneys, or liver.

Dog Breath Causes

The more common serious issues are gum (periodontal) or dental disease, and generally the smaller a dog is, the more vulnerable it is to tartar and plague.  There are more serious issues that are possible, but less common, which include more extreme medical problems in the mouth, gastrointestinal tract, organs, or respiratory system.

Diagnosing Dog Breath

One should normally bring his or her pet to the veterinarian to diagnose the reason behind the chronic bad breath.  A vet can do a physical eam and laboratory work to pinpoint the problem.  Come prepared with information on your dog’s diet, exercise routine, and behavioral habits.

When Should I Take My Dog To The Vet?

As soon as your dog’s breath has an unusual smell, bring it to the vet.  Here are some symptoms:

1.  Unusually fruity/sweet breath can signify diabetes, especially if the dog has been drinking fluids and urinating more than usual.
2.  Dog breath that smells like urine can mean kidney disease.
3.  Bad breath along with vomiting, lack of appetite, and yellow-tinged corneas and/or gums can signify a liver problem.

Dog Breath Cure

Obviously, treatment depends on the cause of dog breath.  If plaque is the cause, the dog may need a professional dental cleaning.  If diet is the cause, then you should change what your dog is eating.  If the cause of bad breath is related to gastrointestinal, liver, kidney, or lung issues, the vet should know the best route to take.

Prevent Dog Breath

Just because a dog is older does not mean that it is normal to have bad breath.  Always take action and provide the best care that you can for your pet, as a method of prevention.  Here are some good things to do:

1.  Bring the dog in for regular checkups at the vet to make sure it has no underlying medical issues.
2.  Have the vet monitor the condition of the dog’s teeth and breath.
3.  Provide the dog with a high-quality and easily digestible diet.
4.  Brush the dog’s teeth everyday if possible–or as frequently as you can if you cannot everyday.  Be sure to brush with a toothpaste made for dog’s, since toothpaste for human’s can cause digestive problems in canines.
5.  Provide safe chew toys that encourage the natural process of chewing and teeth cleaning.
6.  Research dog treats that help with breath odor.
7.  Research dog oral health products to use at home and discuss them with your vet.

Keep in mind that products designed to mask bad breath may not fix the cause of it.  Also, most of these ideas discussed can also be used for cats.

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Dogs and Cats Have Bad Breath: Oral Products for Pets

Monday, June 1st, 2009

Dog Breath

Does your dog or cat have persistent bad breath? It could mean that your best friend may have a serious problem. Periodontal disease (also known as periodontitis, gingivitis or gum disease) is the #1 disease in dogs and cats and bad breath is one sign that your pet may be suffering. Now, there is a way to attack it naturally and effectively.

Dr. Katz for Pets products bring to you and your pet 21st Century science, which fights odors generated by sulfur-producing anaerobic bacteria. The basis of these revolutionary home treatments has been proven thousands of times through the use of oxygenating compounds.

Free Dr. Katz for Pets Trial and Printable Guide

Oral Health for Dogs

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