One of the more pressing issues we deal with here at Braden Run is getting people to get serious about oral health in cats.
Nearly 70 percent of cats ages 3 and older have signs of dental disease. Many of those cats will never receive any home dental care, and the condition of their teeth will worsen every year for the rest of their lives.
Bad Dental Care = Cats in Pain
Over the years, we’ve seen countless feline patients with severe and painful mouth conditions. Some drool constantly. Some can barely eat. Most suffer from mouth pain all the time. Think of yourself. Have you ever had a cold sore in your mouth or an infected tooth? Did you think to yourself, "This is nothing to worry about; it's no big deal"? Of course not! Dental disease is incredibly painful, as well as detrimental to overall health and happiness — in people and cats.
Teeth — even cat’s teeth — are not all that difficult to care for. But left untended, they quickly accumulate plaque buildup, which causes bacteria to build up in your cat’s mouth, and oral bacteria don’t stay in the mouth. Over time, they cause infections that enter the bloodstream by way of a cat’s mouth and spread throughout his body. These bacteria can damage your cat’s heart, liver and kidneys, and compromise his health. This process sounds like it should be a rare occurrence, but it is incredibly common.
What to Do:
There are two keys to ensuring your cat doesn't suffer the effects of poor dental care. First, make sure your cat gets their regular dental exam with their veterinarian and schedule an appointment to have their teeth cleaned and scaled so you have a clean slate. Second, start a program of home care. A lot of cat owners don’t think their cats will stand for tooth brushing — and some of them are right. You know your cat’s temperament better than anyone, so don’t force the issue. There are prescription diets & treats to help battle plaque and tartar build up. Ask our staff at your next visit about the prescription diet or the treats to find out which is best for your cat. You can also choose dental toys and treats for your cat. Your veterinarian can steer you to toys that are impregnated with enzymes to help reduce plaque.
You can also use a dental rinse or a water additive. One of the most recent innovations in home dental care is an oral rinse that kills bacteria in your cat’s mouth. Ask your cat’s veterinarian if this might be helpful for your cat — especially if your pet is not willing to let you directly clean their teeth. The water additive is an easy way to help your pet’s oral health. Usually you just add a small amount of the additive to your pet’s water dish. It is tasteless and odorless so your feline friend is less likely turn their nose up at it. Cats are simply not the “no-maintenance” pets many people imagine them to be. But preventive care isn't difficult and the payoff is huge. You can make your cat's days far more comfortable with just a little of your time by adding oral care to your pet’s life.