Dental disease doesn’t just affect the mouth, the bacteria associated with dental disease can affect several organs within the body, including the heart, liver and kidneys.
Blood Spread Infection
Bacteria from the periodontal disease have very easy access into the blood stream. It has been shown that when a dog eats there is a micro-movement of the teeth. This movement leads to a shower of bacteria being launched into the blood stream. This can also happen during a “scale & polish”. This is the main reason why vets try to avoid doing “clean surgery” (such as neutering) at the same time as carrying out a dental procedure.
In an otherwise healthy pet, if the numbers of bacteria are not too high, the body’s normal defence mechanisms can mop up the infection without too many ill effects. However, if a pet is immunocompromised, or debilitated with another illness, or if the numbers of bacteria are very high – then the infection can spread through the blood stream to affect other organs.
The kidneys have a massive blood supply and act as a filter, excreting waste products from the blood into the urine. The filter can also act as a trap for circulating bacteria. Infection can then damage the function of the kidneys. Blood tests can help to reveal low grade kidney problems. It is not uncommon to find an improvement in kidney tests after proper dental treatment has been carried out. If kidney damage is found then the vet may recommend the use of fluids, possibly an intra-venous drip, during the anaesthetic for the dental.
If the heart valves are damaged, or are not working properly, then the blood flow around them is turbulent. This turbulence leads to the heart murmur sound that vets hear with the stethoscope. The damaged heart valve is also a site that bacteria carried by the blood stream like to settle upon. This is a condition known as Bacterial Endocarditis. The bacteria can be shed from this area to seed off to any other organ in the body.
Bacteria from the blood stream will be carried into the depths of the lungs by the fine meshwork of small blood vessels needed to exchange oxygen from the air.
Liver & Pancreas
In some cases of Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) and Hepatitis (inflammation of the liver) the source of the infection appears to have been dental disease.
Every other tissue that has a blood supply – brain, muscle etc, is potentially at risk from blood borne infections.
As a dog with dental disease breathes in, a shower of bacteria can be carried down the airways. The body’s normal defence mechanisms will manage to cope with much of this – however if the numbers of bacteria are too high, or if the lungs are sick already (for example bronchitis or as a result of heart disease), then the infection may take hold. It is important to note the effects of “passive smoking” apply to our pets as well. Households with smokers are far more likely to have pets with respiratory problems.
Ingestion of Toxins
There is little scientific evidence to back this – however anecdotally there are cases where “gastritis”, or “tummy problems” appeared to have benefitted from effective dental care. It is the case that the bacteria associated with dental disease are not just sitting around the teeth. They are producing toxins. These can be washed off with the saliva and ingested. Some of these toxins will not be destroyed by gastric acid and may lead to problems.
Dental Disease doesn’t just affect the mouth
We are offering FREE Dental Checks from Monday 24th September until Friday 28th September so if you’d like your pet’s mouth examined please contact us to book an appointment on 01670 457271
We are offering FREE Dental Checks from Monday 24th September until Friday 28th September!!
Over 80% of cats and dogs over the age of 3 years require some form of dental treatment.
The good news is that the majority of dental problems are treatable and most of them preventable.
Our pets are very poor at letting us know that they are suffering. They may simply be quieter than normal or more withdrawn. Many of us know the pain associated with mouth ulcers, some will have had the misfortune to have experienced a tooth root abscess. The nerve supply to our pet’s teeth is just as efficient as our own – there is no reason to suppose that they do not feel the same level of pain that we do with dental disease.
Detecting pain in our pets can be very difficult – oral pain can be even harder to diagnose. Often it is only when we see an improvement or change in behaviour after effective dental treatment, that we realise that our pet may have been suffering.
Some signs that may indicate that your pet is in pain:
- Reluctance to play
Sometimes pets will gradually lose interest in chewing or playing with toys. However as this is often a gradual change we might think that they have simply lost interest in a particular toy.
- Reluctance to eat
It is only at the far extreme of dental disease that pets will stop eating – although you may notice earlier changes.
- Favouring one side of the mouth
- Dropping food from the mouth when eating
- Appearing to have difficulties in picking up food
- Being reluctant to chew on dry food.
- Pawing at the mouth
Sometimes oral pain can lead to a pet repeatedly scratching at their mouth – sometimes enough to make their face bleed.
- Pain on examination
A reluctance to allow full examination of the mouth may indicate pain. If a swelling on the side of the face appears to be painful when it is touched – it may be associated with an underlying tooth root abscess.
If your pet’s mouth is very painful your vet will need to use a sedative or an anaesthetic to properly assess the situation.
Give us a call on 01670 457271 to book an appointment.
Here’s a date for your diaries – 17th November 2012 will be our official open day!
All will be welcome (infact, the more the merrier) to come and have a look around, there will be games, staff of hand to answer and questions & lots to look at 🙂
We will be announcing further details nearer the time 🙂
Stanley made his debut at the Northumberland Park Dog Show, he met the staff from St Clair who advised that he was neutered
So, he came to visit us yesterday for a pre-neuter check. We’ll post pictures of his next visit when he comes in to be castrated
Keep checking back to keep track of Stanley’s tail….
St Clair hoodies are now available.
They come in sizes – Small, Medium & Large.
ONLY £19.99 (vet not included)
Please pop in to the surgery to have a look or purchase a hoodie 🙂
ONLY £19.99 (vet not included)
Thank you to everyone who came to see us at our stall at Northumberland Park Dog Show.
The weather held out for us (thankfully) and we had a brilliant day. It was lovely to see so many gorgeous dogs and their owners.
Our Veterinary Nurse, Claire was judging all day and it was almost impossible to pick a winner.
Stanley, the St Clair dog made his debut, he even tried his paw at entering a class at the dog show.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION: HIGH LEVELS OF FATAL MYXOMATOSIS IN THE AREA
Over the last few weeks we have seen an alarming number of rabbits suspected to be infected with Myxomatosis. Myxomatosis is a fatal disease with no known cure resulting in no option other than euthanasia. It starts with swelling around the eyes and progresses to blindness and severe discharge. Swellings can also occur around other areas of the head and may affect the genitals.
BEWARE… MYXOMATOSIS CAN AFFECT BOTH INDOOR AND OUTDOOR RABBITS!!!!
The disease is usually spread by biting insects such as fleas and mosquitoes but can also be caused by direct contact between affected rabbits. Fleas can be carried into the environment by other dogs, cats or rabbits or you can carry them in if you have been in contact with a dog, cat or rabbit that has fleas. Biting insects can fly into the house or garden and directly affect the rabbit.
PROTECT YOUR RABBIT NOW – VACCINATIONS ARE AVAILABLE
Traditionally rabbits had to be treated every 6 months to protect against Myxomatosis. At St Clair we use state of the art vaccination technology to provide rabbits with a 12 month immunity to Myxomatosis and this comes with the added benefit of 12 months immunity to Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease, an emerging fatal disease in rabbits that is being seen with increased frequency in this country.
RABBIT AWARENESS WEEK 17TH – 21ST SEPTEMBER
As part of Rabbit awareness week we are offering 20% off our rabbit vaccination to encourage as many rabbits as possible to be protected against this current outbreak.