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Dental Care - What You Should Really Know About This Common Cat Health Problem

Paul Kramer

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Cats rarely get cavities but they are very susceptible to gum disease. It is important to prevent gum disease because, over the years it can lead to bad breath, painful inflammation, receded gums, loose and infected teeth and eventually loss of teeth. It can even cause serious illness.

Have you noticed that when your veterinarian is examining your cat, she may bend down and smell the cat's breath? Mouth odor is sometimes as good a tool as a thermometer in tracking down the cause of a cat's malaise.

Although the mouth odor may be caused by the food the cat eats, it may also be caused by teeth that need either cleaning or extracting, gum infection or stomatitis or inflammation of the inside of the mouth.

Another sign that your cat has a dental problem may be a loss of appetite. His sore gums or infected tooth can keep him from wanting to eat. Indoor cats may be more prone to mouth problems because they do not have access to outdoor grasses (the cat's dental floss) and seldom perform the chewing action necessitated by crunching bones of small mice, birds and rabbits.

Acute stomatitis may be associated with feline leukemia virus or FLV, feline immunodeficiency virus or FIV and calicivirus infection and chronic stomatitis may be due to dental problems.

Feeding your cat dry food may assist in maintaining good dental and oral health. Preventative treatments include massaging the cat's gums and brushing his teeth. If problems develop, your veterinarian can make a thorough examination and treat the cat appropriately.

Check inside your cat's mouth regularly. It is best to begin massaging his teeth and gums when he is a kitten. If you notice any abnormalities, take him to the veterinarian for treatment.

Although it is difficult to stop your cat from chewing wool, you could make his habit less destructive by giving him his own ball of wool. If you have a multi cat household, and one of those cats has a new litter of kittens, you might find that some of the other cats are unhappy with the additional company and start spraying.

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