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Tooth Decay a Serious Problem in Older Pets

04 August 2015

AUSTRALIA - As part of the Australian Veterinary Association’s Pet Dental Month in August, vets are encouraging owners of older pets to bring in their furry friends for a dental check as tooth decay and oral problems cause suffering which often goes unnoticed.

With the theme, It’s never too late – seniors need dental care too – it highlights the importance of regular dental checks regardless of the age of the pet.

Dr Tara Cashman, spokesperson for the AVA’s Australian Veterinary Dental Society, said that as pets age their immune system becomes less effective at fighting bacterial and viral diseases. 

“While tooth decay is a rare condition in our pets, worn, damaged or missing teeth are very common and painful and can affect your pet’s ability to chew food. This can lead to upset stomachs or regurgitation. Seniors often soldier on hiding their oral pain until it becomes unbearable.

“Senior pets are also more likely to develop more severe forms of gum disease and some will develop oral masses,” Dr Cashman said.

Common signs to look out for in senior with oral diseases include:

  • Bad breath
  • Nasal discharge
  • Poor appetite
  • Facial swelling.

“It’s never too late to treat oral diseases. Regular dental checks with a thorough oral examination at least once a year will minimise the risk of oral disease.”

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