Older pets at risk of tooth decay


The Australian Veterinary Association is using August, its annual Pet Dental Health Month, to encourage owners of older pets to arrange a dental check. Highlighting the importance of regular dental checks, the AVA aims to minimise discomfort in senior pets caused by the loss or damage or teeth. Oral diseases arising from poor dental care are associated with bad breath, nasal discharge, poor appetite and facial swelling.

Dr Tara Cashman, a spokesperson for the AVA’s Australian Veterinary Dental Society [AVDS], says that it’s never too late to care for your pet’s dental health, particularly as the immune system becomes less effective at fighting bacterial and viral diseases in later years.

“While tooth decay is a rare condition in our pets, worn, damaged or missing teeth are very common and painful and can affect your pet’s ability to chew food,” said Dr Cashman. “This can lead to upset stomachs or regurgitation. Senior pets are also more likely to develop more severe forms of gum disease and some will develop oral masses. It’s never too late to treat oral diseases. Regular dental checks with a thorough oral examination at least once a year will minimise the risk of oral disease,” she added.

The AVDS has compiled an educational guide about dental care for dogs, cats, horses and rabbits to minimise at-home diagnosis, and encourages vet practices to highlight Pet Dental Health Month to its clients by distributing the resources or running special promotions throughout the month.



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