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The True Cost of Periodontal Disease in Dogs

October 18, 2019

At Bristly, our goal is to help educate pet parents about dog dental health so that they can prevent periodontal disease in dogs, a condition that causes pain and can be deadly. 

What is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease, also known as periodontitis, is one of the most prevalent diseases in dogs. A majority of dogs over the age of three have signs of this illness. 

Veterinarians agree that periodontitis is the result of poor oral hygiene, which is why annual teeth cleanings are recommended. However, the breed of the dog can also have an impact on their oral health. 

During the first stage of periodontal disease, the structures that surround the teeth, including the gums and bone, become inflamed. 

This disease occurs when bacteria-containing film coats these structures. This film is also known as plaque, which can harden and turn into tartar — the bacteria secrets toxins, which lead to inflammation.

Symptoms of Periodontal Disease in Dogs

There are often four discrete clinical stages of periodontal disease in both dogs and cats. In all of these stages, you may notice the bad breath as it is the most common sign of disease, followed by dental discoloration and obvious tartar buildup.

Tooth loss and pain may also be evident, especially if your dog stops eating or eats more slowly. 

Pet parents who know the signs of oral discomfort may also notice the following:
  • Reduced food consumption
  • Messy eating
  • Pawing at the mouth
  • Bleeding gums
Routine annual cleanings help veterinarians thoroughly example the status of dogs’ dental health.

Periodontal Disease Treatment

Once a dog has been diagnosed with periodontitis, it can be treated in the following ways:

Scaling and Polishing

Under anesthesia, scaling removes the tartar and plaque on the teeth. In severe cases, this is done every four months. 

Antibiotic Gels

These gels are applied to the pockets of the affected teeth to help with recovery. 

Surgery

Your dog may need to have a few teeth extracted when they have lost a large portion of their attachments.

Oral Antibiotics

In cases where teeth extraction is not feasible due to the anesthetic risk, oral antibiotics are used to keep infections under control. 

Is Periodontal Disease in Dogs Curable?

Periodontal disease is not considered curable after bone loss has occurred. Only stage 1, gingivitis, is curable. The treatments for the remaining stages are aimed at controlling periodontal disease. 

The Cost

The cost of diagnosis and treatment will vary depending on your veterinarians' fees and the degree of the disease. Once the surgery is required, the cost can run into thousands of dollars.

However, we don’t want to just talk about the financial cost. Consider your pup and their physical and emotional wellbeing. Nobody wants their fur-baby to be in any pain, especially when it affects their everyday life and ability to eat. 

Periodontal disease can lead to infection and death, the true cost. However, though irreversible, periodontal disease is preventable to an extent. 

Prevention

The best way to keep periodontal disease at bay is with daily brushing. Brushing your dog's teeth is the most effective way to remove plaque and tartar, along with bacteria. 

Also, there are dental treats designed to help battle bacteria and scrape plaque and tartar from your dog’s teeth. However, they are not as effective as regular brushing, which can reach every single tooth and massage the gum-line. 

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