How to prevent feline dental problems
Dental disease is common in cats of all ages. According to International Cat Care, it’s thought around 85% of cats aged three and over have some kind of dental disease. With February being Pet Dental Health Month, Northlands' team of experienced vets are here to explain what causes feline dental problems and how to prevent them.
Call us if your cat appears to have a painful mouth or is having problems eating, on 01536 485543.
Causes of dental issues in cats include:
- Tooth misalignment can cause food to get trapped and bacteria to accumulate (could be due to pre-disposed short-nosed breed characteristics, congenital birth conditions, or trauma). Some misaligned teeth may need to be removed by a vet.
- An unsuitable diet can be problematic for dental care. A balanced, complete food is an important part of your cat’s diet and hard kibble will give their teeth a good dental workout.
- Some infectious diseases such as feline leukaemia (FeLV) and feline calicivirus (FCV) are associated with gingivitis - your vet may suggest screening for them. Keeping up-to-date with your cat’s vaccinations will help to protect them from these diseases.
- Genetics can cause some cats to be genetically more predisposed to developing dental disease than others.
- Trauma and ageing brittle teeth can result in fractures, some of which may need to be removed.
- A lack of oral dental care can lead to plaque & tartar build-up and varying levels of dental disease. A common ailment is gingivitis (red, swollen and even bleeding gums), which can be very painful. Left untreated, severe dental disease can cause secondary infections in other parts of your cat’s body.
How to prevent plaque & tartar build-up - Brushing your cat’s teeth regularly, along with some cat foods, toys, and dental aids, can help to keep plaque at bay and prevent a build-up of tartar, and more serious health conditions. Not all cats will let you brush their teeth, it’s best to start as a kitten, but it’s never too late to try - just be careful not to get bitten or scratched and be sure to use a pet-friendly toothpaste.
Try checking your pet’s teeth and mouth at home for any obvious problems and contact your vet if you’re concerned. Professional veterinary dental treatment is sometimes needed to remove tartar build-up and any problematic or decaying teeth.
Contact us if you’re concerned about your cat’s dental health.