February is Pet Dental Health Month! Our feline friends can develop some very painful dental issues. Read on as a Thorold, ON vet discusses kitty dental care.
Gum disease is very common in our feline pals. In fact, some studies suggest that as many as 90 percent of cats over age four are afflicted. This is quite concerning, as gum disease can contribute to other health issues, such as heart disease. Some other dental issues we often see in cats include feline stomatitis, which is an extremely painful mouth infection; tooth resorption; and abscesses.
Fluffy can’t tell you if her teeth hurt. In fact, she may actually try to hide the signs that something is wrong. Therefore, it’s important for you to watch for warning signs. Fluffy may drool, dribble food out of her mouth, take longer eating, or start preferring softer foods. She may also shy away from having her head and mouth touched. Some kitties become very withdrawn when they don’t feel well. Your pet may also stop grooming herself and/or act grumpy. You may notice changes in your cat’s vocalizations or behavior. It’s worth noting that many of these signs can be indicative of many different health issues, not just dental trouble. Call your vet immediately if you notice any of them in your kitty.
The best way to keep Fluffy’s teeth healthy is to simply brush them. We know, this sounds a bit dangerous. The trick is to make sure your furball feels pampered, not punished. You’ll want to choose a time when Fluffy is feeling cuddly and tired, such as when she’s relaxing on your lap. Start by gently rubbing your pet’s teeth. You can wrap your finger in gauze or use a finger toothbrush if you like. Offer your pet cuddles, treats, and praise. Eventually, you can incorporate kitty toothpaste.
If Fluffy won’t let you brush her teeth, don’t try to force her. That’s a good way to get scratched! Ask your vet about other options, such as dental-formula treats, dental flakes, and oral rinses. Also, make sure your feline buddy always has plenty of fresh water. Many cats prefer running water, so you may want to get Fluffy a kitty fountain.
Please reach out to us, your Thorold, ON vet clinic, for all your cat’s veterinary care needs. We are here to help!