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Our cats and dogs are often vulnerable to the same infections that affect us. Sometimes, as in the case of periodontal disease, they can be affected more than us.

Periodontal Disease in Dogs and Cats

Periodontal disease is one of the most prevalent clinical infections that impact adult pets. An alarming 70% of cats and 80% of dogs exhibit some form of the disease by the time they are 2 years old. The good news is, this disease is treatable.

What is Periodontal Disease?

Initially, periodontal disease starts when the bacteria present on the teeth and its surrounding tissue, create a sticky substance that adheres to the tooth’s surface. In time, minerals present in the saliva solidify this plaque transforming it into dental calculus, otherwise referred to as tartar.

Typically tartar lies above the gum line so is usually obstructed from our view. When the tartar and plaque spread under the gum line, bacteria residing in the plaque, release toxins that damage the tooth’s surrounding tissue (periodontium). The infection and inflammation of the periodontium is called periodontitis.

Why is it Important to Treat Periodontal Disease?

If not treated immediately, the disease can lead to a loss of that particular tooth because it is a progressive infection. In addition, the bacteria can also adversely affect your pet’s immune system as it tries to combat the infection, which can bring about acute pain and discomfort for your pet.

  • Stage 1 – besides completely destroying the tooth’s tissue, the infection causes inflammation of the gums called gingivitis. The gums (gingiva) become red and may even bleed during chewing or brushing.
  • Stage 2 and 3 – in worse cases, the infection can spread into the supporting gum bone and damage it. As the bone is eroded, pain may cause a loss of appetite as well.
  • Stage 4 – due to insufficient supporting tissue surrounding the tooth, the tooth becomes loose and may develop an abscess or even fall out.

If bacteria or the toxins enter the bloodstream, there could be worse consequences such as microscopic changes to one or more of the major organs – the heart, kidneys and liver.

Schedule an Appointment ≫

New patient consultations are available in the mornings, Tuesday through Friday at Culver City, and on Mondays at Woodland Hills.


What Does Periodontal Treatment Consist Of?

There is a range of treatment options that can effectively stop the progression of the disease completely and treat the cause. Dental radiographs and probing are important because they help in an exact diagnosis of the infection to determine which stage the disease has progressed to so that it can be treated in time.

How Can I Prevent Periodontal Disease in my Pet?

Periodontal disease can be prevented through home dental care, which includes daily brushing that would inhibit the build-up of plaque and calculus in the first place. Since you don’t know when the disease will set in, the second method of prevention is to ensure you regularly take your pet for a check up to a specialist.

State-of-the-Art Pet Dental Care

Dr. Anson Tsugawa, our founder and lead veterinary dentist here at Dog and Cat Dentist, is a highly qualified and experienced physician who leads a team of exceptional board-certified dentists. They hold the distinction of being the only veterinary dentistry specialists in Los Angeles. With access to their highly sought after expertise and state-of-the-art medical equipment, your pet will be able in safe hands and benefit from the finest care. Our philosophy is to provide care with compassion. What better way to repay your loyal, best friend than having him or her treated by L.A.’s best.  

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