A Healthy Heart Begins with a Healthy Smile

Calling all pet owners, animal lovers, and future veterinarians! We are introducing a series on basic health care for our beloved pets, farm animals, and equid (horse) companions. We hope this will be interesting and informative to any and all who read it.

This quarter we would like to talk about dental hygiene for our pets. While it might seem weird to brush your dog or cat’s teeth everyday, it could really benefit their health, just like it does yours. How do your teeth feel when tartar builds up on them? How hard is it to eat when your gums are red and inflamed? What you feel is similar to what your pet feels. Taking your dog or cat to the vet annually to get a good dental cleaning is beneficial not only for their oral health, but to their overall health. For example, did you know that poor dental hygiene can cause heart disease? An infection in your pet’s mouth, or yours, may allow bacteria to enter the bloodstream and potentially spread to all parts of the body including the heart, kidneys, and liver.

Things to look for in a dog or cat with dental disease:
• Bad breath
• Tartar
• Dropping or avoiding food
• Red or Bleeding gums
• Teeth falling out
• Pain when playing with toys or when eating
If you see any of these things talk to your veterinarian!

Let’s not forget that our equine friends need annual dentals too. Dental procedures are important to ensure proper breakdown of feed and optimal absorption of nutrients. If they don’t have good teeth they could easily start losing weight, even to the point of starvation.
Signs to look for in horses:
• Dropping feed
• Long hay or grass stems in their fecal material
• Weight loss
• Slow or painful eating
• Bad breath

Stay Healthy, Stay Happy.