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DENTAL DISEASE and cats?/i>

Dental disease is one of the most common conditions seen by veterinarians. Approximately two-thirds of pets over three years of age have some degree of dental disease. The most common problems are due to periodontal disease, gingivitis and in cats, cervical neck lesions (also called oral resorptive lesions). Most pets will show few signs of dental disease. It is up to the pet’s family and veterinarian to uncover this hidden and often painful condition.

What are the clinical signs of dental disease?

There are a number of signs that should alert you to dental disease or other mouth problems in your cat. Your pet may show a decreased interest in food or approach the food bowl and then show a reluctance to eat. It may chew with obvious caution and discomfort, drop food from the mouth, or may swallow with difficulty. Dribbling may be seen, possibly with blood, and there may be a marked unpleasant odor to the breath. In some cases your pet may be seen pawing at its mouths or shaking its heads. Dental disease and oral pain may account for the “finicky appetites” that many cats and dogs display. As the oral infection increases, tonsillitis and pharyngitis can also occur. In addition, the bacteria are absorbed into the blood stream and can be carried to other organs. Heart valve infections (endocardiosis or endocarditis), kidney and liver problems are frequently caused by “bad teeth”. Dental disease also makes Diabetes very hard to control.

What causes dental disease?

The most common cause of dental disease in cats is due to tartar and calculus accumulation. As in humans, cats accumulate bacterial plaque on the surface of their teeth. If the plaque is not removed quickly, it becomes mineralized to form tartar and calculus. The bacterial products and decaying food stuck to tartar are one potential cause of bad breath. Tartar is easily identified by its yellow or brown color. It normally starts at the gum edge, especially on the back teeth called the premolars and molars. In severe cases, tartar and calculus may cover the entire tooth. The accumulation of tartar and bacteria on the teeth surfaces lead to infection and gingivitis or inflammation of the gums. If the disease is caught at an early stage and a thorough veterinary dental scaling and polishing performed, most of the teeth and gums will have a full recovery. However, if gingivitis is allowed to persist untreated, then irreversible periodontal disease will occur. During this process the bone and ligaments that support the tooth are destroyed leading to excessive tooth mobility and eventual tooth loss. Infection around the socket causes the formation of pus and a foul odor and may spread deep into the tooth socket creating an abscess, or even more severe problems. Once periodontal disease starts, the degenerative changes to the tooth and its support structures cannot be reversed. These changes also make it easier for more plaque and tartar to collect, resulting in further disease.

Is gingivitis always associated with dental disease?

Some cats develop severe gingivitis with minimal signs of accompanying dental disease. The affected areas may extend beyond the gums to other areas of the mouth, such as the throat or tongue. There are various reasons why this may occur and your pet would need to have some diagnostic tests performed to determine the cause.

What are cervical neck lesions?

Cervical neck lesions result from a progressive destruction of the enamel resulting in slowly deepening “holes” in affected teeth. Once the sensitive parts of the tooth are exposed, these lesions are intensely painful, and the only proven available treatment is to extract the tooth. The cause of this disease is unknown; however, poor oral health can play a role in the disease-process.

What should I do if my pet has signs of dental problems?

If you see that your cat has evidence of tartar accumulation, gingivitis or is exhibiting any signs of mouth pain or discomfort, you should take it to your veterinarian for an examination. You will be advised of the most appropriate course of treatment, which may involve having the cat’s teeth examined and cleaned under general anesthesia. The rate of tartar accumulation is very variable between individual cats, and in some cases this may necessitate professional cleaning on a regular basis such as every six to twelve months. Do not try to remove tartar from the teeth yourself using any form of metallic instrument. Aside from potentially harming your cat’s mouth or the cat harming you, you are likely to damage the tooth surface by creating microscopic scratches, which will provide areas for bacteria to cling to and encourage more rapid plaque formation, thus making the problem worse.

What can I do to help prevent dental disease in my cat?

Tooth brushing

We recommend starting tooth brushing as early as possible in every pet. This can be done using a tooth brush, finger brush or some gauze around your finger tip. Ideally this should be done daily to all surfaces of teeth, but we realize this is not always possible. If your pet gets too stressed during brushing, you can just brush a few teeth at a time. Try dividing the mouth into sections and do one at a time as often as he/she will let you.

Remember to use treats (or “bribes”!) for positive reinforcement will make each attempt a little easier for you and your pet. Make sure to use toothpaste made especially for pets. Human toothpaste is made to be rinsed from the mouth, and is very irritating to dog and cat tummies when swallowed.

Dental Treats

We recommend “CET CHEWS” for dogs and cats. These are a great addition to home dental care, but should not be used more than a few times weekly. Remember some treats may contribute to weight gain and/or vomit/diarrhea especially if used in excess. Monitor your pet closely for any such changes or problems.

Providing your dog with appropriate chew toys can also help reduce plaque accumulation. Avoid hard nylon toys, cow hooves and bones, as these are hard enough to fracture teeth.

Dental Diets

We strongly recommend feeding a prescription diet to all healthy adult pets. We all feed our own pets either Hills T/D or Medi-cal Dental Diet. On top of providing high quality balanced nutrition, these foods are highly effective at removing plaque and tartar. If your pet is having trouble giving up his/her regular diet, you can try mixing one of the dental diets together with the regular diet or even using the kibbles as a daily treat.

We stand behind our diets 100%. If your pet does not like the food you

can return it to us for a full refund. If you are considering a diet change please give us a call so we can recommend a diet choice that is safe for your pet. Always remember that any food changes should be done gradually over a 5-7 day period to avoid stomach upset.

***If at anytime you wish to discuss dental care, or want to bring your pet in for a

home care demonstration with one of our nurses, please call us***


Dental health contributes significantly to the overall health of our pets. The purpose of this handout is to provide clients with an overview of the high quality dental care provided through our Group of Hospitals.

Dental admit appointment

This includes a full consultation with you. The nurse will answer any questions you may have and discuss the estimate of costs. The doctor performs a complete physical exam and reviews results of pre-anesthetic blood work to determine the safest anesthetic protocol for your pet.

General anesthesia

General anesthesia is requiredto perform a thorough dental examination and treatment. An injectable agent, or premedication, is given prior to anesthetic induction. Premedication provides sedation, protects against the negative side effects of anesthetic agents and decreases pain and discomfort in the postoperative period. Once the premedication has taken effect, and your pet is placed on intra-venous fluids, an injectable anesthetic is given to achieve general anesthesia. At this point, a Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT) places an endotracheal tube to ensure safe and efficient delivery of oxygen and anesthetic gases to your pet. General anesthesia is maintained with isoflurane, one of the safest anesthetics currently available for veterinary use.

Supragingival and Subgingival scaling

Dental forceps and a mechanical scaler(the same instruments used by your dentist) are used to remove calculus from the crowns of the teeth. A handheld curette is used to gently remove calculus and debris from

beneath the gum line, where periodontal disease begins.


All tooth surfaces are polished, above and below the gum line, using a disposable flared rubber cup and fluoride polishing paste. Polishing removes etching caused by scaling and creates a smooth, glass-like surface to discourage plaque from adhering to teeth.

Flushing(subgingival irrigation)

A disinfecting oral rinse is used to flush beneath the gum line to remove all remaining debris from the oral cavity.

Examination, Charting and Dental X-Rays

A Veterinarian conducts a through examination of the teeth and oral cavity. Any irregularities of the teeth and supporting structures are charted on the surgical record. At this time, the veterinarian evaluates the oral x-rays to determine what extractions and/or other treatment may be required.

Dental discharge appointment

One of our Registered Technicians provides an overview of the dentistry and instructions for postoperative care. A dental kit is available for interested clients.

Dental Progress Evaluation

We like to see the patient back 14 days after the dentistry for a progress evaluation to ensure proper healing and to discuss home dental care.


This Halloween our team at Rexdale Animal Hospital wants to make sure your family and your pets can enjoy a fun and safe Halloween, so we have put together some helpful tips to achieve just that.

 1. - Loosing a pet could be devastating. Make sure your pet has proper identification or even better a Microchip to ensure a safe returned if lost. (We are offering 10% off any microchip before October 31, 08). When opening the door for Trick-or-Treaters make sure your pet will not go outside.

 2. - Control the stress level of your pet by keeping them in a separate room during peak Halloween hours. Too many strangers and all the costumes may be scary for your pets. (Remember scared dogs or cats can be aggressive.)

 3. – Keep your candies and your chocolates away from Dogs and Cats; they can be dangerously TOXIC to your pet. Also the tin foil and cellophane candy wrappers can be hazardous if swallowed. PLEASE call us immediately if you suspect any trouble.

 4. - Caution should be taken when any kind of fire is used, so mind your pet and any candles outside or inside of a pumpkin during the festivities.

 5. - Keep wires and cords from electric lights and any other decorations out of reach of your pets. Electrical shock is a life-threatening hazard.

 6. - Pets should NOT be dressed up for Halloween.  If your pet absolutely LOVES to be dressed up, please make sure the costume will not interfere with his/her vision, hearing or movement and cause undue stress.

 7. - If trick or treating with your pet make sure to mind traffic and keep your pet on the leash at all times. Keep in mind that your pet could get scared any time and therefore behave differently so if possible keep your pets safe at home.


( June 1st through Nov 30th )

 This is the time to have your best friends (Dogs) tested for and protected from Heartworm Disease.

is a serious and potentially fatal disease in dogs.

Heart worm (Dirofilaria immitis) is a blood-born parasite which is spread among the dogs through the mosquito bite and is found in the heart and adjacent large blood vessels of infected dogs.

The Female worm is 6 to 14 inches long and 1/8 inch wide. The male is about the half the size of female.

One dog may have as many as 300 worms.

Most dogs infected with heart worm do not show any signs of disease for as long as two years. Unfortunately, by the time clinical signs are seen, the disease is well advanced.

SIGNS-Most obvious signs are a soft, dry cough, shortness of breath, weakness, nervousness, listlessness and loss of stamina. All of those signs are most noticeable following exercise, when some dogs may even faint.

 DIAGNOSIS of heartworm disease can be made by blood test in the veterinary hospital or veterinary laboratory.

TREATMENT of heartworm disease is costly and risky, most dogs are hospitalized for treatment.

PREVENTION is strongly recommended for all dogs at risk and is the best approach to protect your dogs form heartworm.

Blood  test for heartworm is must before starting the preventive treatment.

At Rexdale Animal hospital we do the blood  test and have different preventive medications for heartworm. Please call us to make an appointment.


Avoid the Holiday Hazards  Ontario Veterinary Medical Association

Your house is likely pet-proofed most of the year, but the upcoming holiday season poses new risks for your pet. Here are some dangers the holiday season may present:

That box of chocolates wrapped and trimmed under your tree may satisfy your sweet tooth, but is poisonous for your dog. Make sure all food-related gifts are tucked away safely.
Tom Turkey is yummy for you, but his bones and fat are too much for your pet's gastrointestinal system and can cause severe upset. Make sure carcass leftovers are secured
away from your pet.
Bones are never a good choice for a snack as they may become lodged or splinter in the digestive system. Ask your veterinarian for a recommendation on an appropriate snack.
Tinsel is too tempting for your kitty. Pets, particularly cats, love to chew and play with glittery tinsel. Unfortunately, they can't resist eating it and it can become entangled in the
intestinal tract. Often, it must be surgically-removed. Does it really look that pretty on your tree?
You may love company during the holidays, but consider whether your pet does too! The presence of many visitors unknown to your pet can cause unnecessary stress for him/her. If you're planning a party, provide your pet with a quiet, secure place for him/her to settle in while you party.
If you're thinking of giving a new pet as a holiday gift, think again. The holiday season is probably the worst time to introduce a new pet into your home. Instead, package up a
basket with a leash, food, dish, toys and a brush together with an IOU...then plan an outing AFTER the holiday rush when you can introduce your new pet to your peaceful,
quiet environment!
Electrical cords, decorations and holiday plants all pose potential hazards for your pets. Avoid leaving your furry friend unsupervised around these tempting items. Try to
segregate your pet from holiday trimmings when you're not home.
You might overeat during the holidays, but don't be tempted to increase the treats for your pet. Obesity is one of the major causes of long-term ill health in pets. Maintain the pet's regular diet and keep plenty of fresh water available at all times.

If your pet becomes ill as a result of coming into contact with any of these holiday hazards, contact your veterinarian immediately for advice on first aid and further treatment.
Have a safe and happy holiday and follow these few simple suggestions to promote your pet's continued well-being.

This information is provided by the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association and the member veterinarian located at:




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