Could you imagine what your mouth would feel like if you missed brushing your teeth for one day? How about one week? God forbid one entire month!?
That fuzzy feeling you get on your teeth in such a short period of time is the build-up of bacteria. That bacteria over time forms plaque and calculus and gives you terrible breath! What is even more scary is that every day, that bacteria is being swallowed, spreading to your internal organs potentially leading to organ damage and other illnesses and what’s worse? The exact same things happen to our pet’s and their mouths only they don’t have hands to pick up a toothbrush.
Approximately 70% of cats have some form of dental disease by the time they reach just 3 years old!
That is a scary statistic given how detrimental dental disease can be to a cat’s health and wellbeing. Thankfully there are several ways you can help keep your cat from becoming one of these statistics and keeping them happy and healthy.
The first step is prevention.
In an ideal world, we would all brush our pet’s teeth at least once a day. There are in fact pet specific toothbrushes and pastes available for our pets and for some of us, brushing our pet’s teeth might be easier than you think! Each night my girl Annabelle and I prepare for bed by brushing our teeth. It has become routine for us, and she loves it! I introduced the idea of brushing her teeth to her slowly, allowing her to lick the chicken flavoured toothpaste as if it were a treat and she thought this was great! If you click here
you can watch a video Annabelle and I have made showing you how to best hold your cat and brush their teeth.
If brushing your cat’s teeth is a no go don’t worry! There are other options available such as using dental specific foods and treats. Foods such as the Hills t/d and Royal Canin Dental work well to help break plaque off your cat’s teeth and treats such as Greenies can also assist whilst helping you bond with your cat and making dental hygiene fun! Check out the range of products available at Best Friends.
Prevention is always better than treatment but sadly not all cats are given this opportunity.
BFFR take in cats from all walks of life, many of which are elderly and have had no one to take care of them and zero veterinary work done. This means they are often in the progressive stages of dental disease and require urgent attention.
In the veterinary industry, we grade teeth from 1 to 4 with grade 1 being the only reversible stage of dental disease. When a patient presents with grade 1 dental disease, we always recommend getting their teeth cleaned professionally under anaesthetic where we can use an ultrasonic scaling tool to clean the teeth and get under the gum line to clear any plaque and bacteria from the mouth. We even polish the teeth’s surface and give each animal a face wash and full check over when under the anaesthesia.
Once an animal’s teeth are back to a grade 0, this is where we can start working on prevention and try to avoid the need for further anaesthetics.
For those cats who arrive with stage 2, 3 or 4 dental disease, there is no other option but to have a procedure under anaesthetic as the decay to the teeth are often too far gone and the cat would be in some pain and discomfort. In these stages of decay, we often come across teeth that are so rotten they require extraction. It sounds a little sad but if you could imagine what it feels like to have a single toothache let alone your entire mouth ache then the removal of one or two teeth would be a godsend!
Thankfully every cat that comes into the care of the BFFR team are treated.
BFFR go above and beyond, and I must say, in my 12 years of experience in the veterinary industry, never have I come across a rescue who do more for their animals than BFFR. Every BFFR rescue patient is treated the same way any other patient would equip with full health exams, blood work, fluid therapy, dental x-rays, extractions, dental cleans, antibiotics and pain relief.
Despite help from vets, dental procedures can be an expensive gig for a small rescue but the work they do is critical to ensuring each animal receives the treatment they deserve. Once healed from a dental, the way these cats would now be feeling must be extraordinary compared to how they were living.
Good dental health has an incredible impact on the lives of every animal.
If you want to learn more about dental disease head, Head on over to read another blog from the Lynbrook Vet website.