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Dental Care

How to spot dental disease in your cat

Dental disease is surprisingly common in cats of all ages. While there may be many causes, one of the major factors is the type of food they eat. A steady diet of soft food doesn’t provide any abrasive action to rub bacteria, plaque, and tartar off the teeth. These substances build up over time, creating the perfect environment for disease and infection to flourish.

Age and the health of your pet also play a part, as does the type of breed. The teeth of Persians and Chinchillas and other short-nosed breeds are often misaligned and overcrowded, leaving them vulnerable to dental disease.

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Gingivitis and Periodontal (gum) disease are caused by the accumulation of plaque, which hardens into tartar and causes infection. These are both very slow-developing diseases, so if you perform regular dental checks, you can spot tartar and plaque build-up and take immediate action. However, once gingivitis or periodontal disease are well established, they can cause irreversible damage and could cost your cat most, if not all of its teeth.

The slow development of dental disease may mean that your cat shows few if any, signs of distress, so it’s easy to miss the symptoms. Your cat may have become used to living with the symptoms, which is why it’s so important to know what to look for.

It’s advisable to take your cat for a dental check-up at least once a year and check its teeth yourself once a month. Here are the signs and symptoms that may point to dental disease:


Behavioral signs:

  • Loss of appetite
  • It appears to be hungry, but takes no food from the bowl
  • Very slow or careful chewing
  • Obvious pain while eating
  • Dribbling (and there may be blood in the saliva)
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Pawing at its head and mouth
  • Head shaking

Physical symptoms:

  • Swollen, red gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • A build-up of tartar on teeth
  • Lumps around the mouth area
  • Loose teeth
  • Bad breath
  • Weight loss

If your cat is showing any of the above behavioral or physical symptoms, come into the South Eastern Animal Hospital today. Our expert vets are experienced in treating cat dental disease, and can also perform dental check-ups to keep your beloved furry friends healthy and happy. Call us on 9544 6979 to book an appointment.