Cat with no dental disease.

While cats may be known for liking fish, that doesn’t mean that their breath needs to smell like a can of tuna. Dental disease in cats is a real problem and Leon Valley Veterinary Hospital wants you as a pet owner to be aware and ready to help.

Why You Should Care About Dental Disease in Cats

All of us want to do everything we can to keep our feline friends healthy as long as possible. While it is often overlooked, dental health is a very important part of this. Understanding dental care and dental disease in cats is a vital part of responsible pet ownership.

Dental disease in cats can result in:

  • Oral pain
  • Bad breath
  • The loss of teeth
  • Decreased appetite
  • Infection of the tissue and bone surrounding the teeth
  • Bacteria entering the blood 
  • Damage to other organs such as the heart and kidneys

It’s not hard to see how taking good care of your kitty’s chompers can result in a happier and healthier cat. 

Toothsome Trouble

Cats insist on being a little bit different from their canine counterparts, and it is no different when it comes to dental disease.

Like dogs, cats can suffer from periodontal disease. Plaque is formed when a combination of food, saliva, and bacteria form on the teeth. Over time, this plaque will mineralize into tartar. Tartar causes inflammation of the tissues surrounding the teeth and is a good place for bacteria to thrive. This inflammation and infection is periodontal disease. 

Unlike dogs, though, cats are also prone to something called feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions (FORLs). FORL lesions are painful holes that form in the tooth for unknown reasons and affect over half of cats over the age of six.

Cats also can suffer from gingivostomatitis, a condition that occurs due to an allergic-type reaction to the plaque on the teeth. This disease process can result in red, swollen, and painful tissues in the mouth. 

When it comes to cat dental disease, prevention is the name of the game. Paying attention to your cat’s oral health and letting us know right away if you suspect a problem is key. 

Be sure to bring your cat in for wellness examinations so that our team can assess oral health, among other things. We can also recommend dental cleanings as needed and help you to develop a home care program that may include things like brushing and dental treats. 

Taking care of your cat’s teeth isn’t very hard, and it is well worth it. Who would have thought that such a simple thing could make such a big difference for your cat?