Posts Tagged ‘bacteria’

Why should you care about the bacteria in your pet’s mouth?
We have even more answers today.
(See Part I here.)

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Q: What’s the difference between gingivitis and periodontal disease?
A: Gingivitis is reversible and can be treated and prevented with thorough plaque removal and continued plaque control. Periodontal disease is more severe and is irreversible. It may require advanced therapy and thorough plaque control to prevent progression of the disease. Periodontal disease causes red, swollen, tender gums, receding gums, bleeding gums, oral pain and dysfunction and bad breath. Periodontal disease, if left untreated, may lead to tooth loss and systemic health problems affecting the heart, liver, kidneys, and lungs.

Q: Can I reduce the risk of oral disease for my pet?
A: Yes. The good news is that oral disease is primarily preventable. The Foundation for Veterinary Dentistry recommends a three-step program to help prevent oral disease. Take your pet to his or her veterinarian for a dental exam; start a home dental care routine; and take your pet to his or her veterinarian for regular checkups. Research shows that canine gingivitis can be controlled by regular tooth brushing, and that feeding a pet food with proven oral benefits is also helpful in daily plaque control and maintenance of oral health. Your pet is never too old to begin a dental care routine.

Q: Does it matter to my pet’s teeth whether he or she eats hard or soft food?
A: Studies show that hard kibbles are slightly better at keeping plaque from accumulating on the teeth. Hill’s Prescription Diet T/D for dogs and cats has been proven to help remove plaque and tartar. If you think your pet needs a special food, consult his or her veterinarian.

Q: What are the warning signs that my pet has an unhealthy mouth?
A: Some of the common signs of oral disease include bad breath, a change in eating or chewing habits, pawing at the face, lethargy, and depression. Oral disease causes pain in your pet’s mouth. If you notice any of these signs, take your pet to his or her veterinarian for a dental exam.

Do you have questions about your pet’s oral health? Contact us today.

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Why should you care about the bacteria in your pet’s mouth?
We have the answers, in this National Pet Dental Health Month special report.

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Q: How do bacteria affect my pet’s mouth?
A: Bacteria play a role in the formation of plaque and tartar. When bacteria combine with saliva and food debris in the channel between the tooth and the gum, plaque forms and accumulates on the tooth. Bacteria continue to grow in the plaque and, as calcium salts are deposited, plaque becomes tartar.

Left: a tartar shell; Right: a molar once covered by the tartar shell (Photo by Jennifer Miele)

Left: a tartar shell; Right: a molar once covered by the tartar shell (Photo by Jennifer Miele)

Q: Is tartar build-up dangerous to my pet?
A: Yes. If tartar is not removed from your pet’s teeth, pockets of pus may appear along the gumline and further separate the tooth from the gum, which allows more food and bacteria to accumulate. Without proper dental treatment, gingivitis — and possibly periodontal disease — may develop.

Tooth model 2 (2)

Click to enlarge

Q: Can bacteria in my pet’s mouth cause other problems?
A: If bacteria build-up in your pet’s mouth causes periodontal disease, systemic health problems that affect the liver, kidneys, heart, and lungs may occur. Oral disease may also affect your pet’s behavior and sociability with others.

Q: How common is oral disease for pets?
A: Oral disease is the most frequently diagnosed health problem for pets. According to the American Veterinary Dental Society (AVDS), 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show signs of oral disease by age three. Periodontal disease is a common problem in dogs. Many factors contribute to the prevalence and severity of periodontal disease, including breed, genetics, age, diet, chewing behavior, and systemic health.

On Thursday, we will discuss the difference between gingivitis and periodontal disease. Stay tuned!

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     Have you noticed sores or “acne” on your dog or cat’s chin? If your pet is eating or drinking from plastic bowls, it could have an allergy to the petroleum in the dishes. Plastic allergies can lead to mild or severe sores at the lips, chin, and nose.    

A plastic dish may not be right for your pet.

A plastic dish may not be right for your pet.

     Quick fix: swap out all plastic bowls for stainless steel or crockery (make sure it’s food-safe and not lead-based.) Your veterinarian may prescribe a pet-specific topical antibiotic to use on the affected area.

(Look for stainless steel pet dishes, like this cute bowl at WalMart.)

     If your pet continues to have sores, also check for and remove plastic and rubber toys.

     Inform the veterinarian if the problem persists or if you see signs of infection, such as pus, swelling, inflammation, or bleeding. Sometimes other allergens or bacteria are the cause of the problem. However, it is a good idea to remove plastics first, so they won’t exacerbate any existing allergy or bacterial infection.

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This post first appeared on December 23, 2010.

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Choose a high-quality probiotic designed for pets' intestinal health.

Choose a high-quality probiotic designed for pets’ intestinal health.

Have you heard of the nutritional benefits of probiotics? Did you know pets can take probiotics, too?

What are probiotics?
Probiotics are microorganisms (bacteria) that live in the intestines and aid in the proper digestion of food. The “healthy” bacteria also help to limit harmful bacteria colonies and boost the immune system.

When the beneficial microorganisms are depleted — due to illness, use of antibiotics, or another reason — digestive upset such as diarrhea, gas, and constipation can result.

Eventually, the healthy bacteria (also called “flora”) will recolonize — but that can take time. A faster, safe method of encouraging the growth of new digestive flora is through giving your pet probiotic supplements, such as Vetri-Mega Probiotic.

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We have used Vetri-Mega Probiotic with success in stopping diarrhea and promoting normal, healthy digestion in pets.

What is in the bottle?
Each bottle holds 120 capsules containing  several strains each of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium (both are beneficial bacteria), along with an important prebiotic – fructooligosaccharides (FOS).

Wait — what is a prebiotic? 
Think of a prebiotic as food for the probiotic. The FOS in Vetri-Mega Probiotic helps the good bacteria to flourish in your pet’s intestines. In particular, the FOS stimulates the growth of Bifidobacteria.

If your pet has been experiencing diarrhea or constipation, your vet may recommend a probiotic supplement to assist in recovery.

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