On exam, he had quite a lot of tartar build-up on his teeth. The issue with tartar build-up is that it causes gingivitis which is inflammation of the gum. Over time gingivitis can cause the attachment between the gum and the tooth to become separated and then bacteria can get under the gum line and cause damage to the underlying bone supporting the tooth. This then leads to loose teeth that cause pain when the animal chews and infection under the gum line. The bacteria can also get into the bloodstream and has been linked with heart disease, kidney disease, and liver disease. In humans, it is also linked with dementia.
Luckily with Rusty, dental x-rays showed no sign of bone loss in the bone supporting his teeth and all he needed was a good clean which will reverse the gingivitis and get his mouth back to healthy again.
The issue with animals is that they don't often show dental pain, and will usually eat despite having pain in their mouths but this chronic pain can present in other ways such as behavioral issues. If you have concerns about your pet's mouth, book a free dental check with one of our highly skilled nurses to get your pet's mouth assessed and create a plan on how to keep your pet's mouth healthy.
Nikki Frost BSc, BVSc, MANZCVS (Medicine of cats)