Powered by Google

Sorry, something went wrong and the translator is not available.

Sorry, something went wrong with the translation request.

loading Translating

Periodontal Disease in Dogs and Cats
Revised: June 22, 2016
Published: June 27, 2002

What Is Periodontal Disease?

Radiograph by Dr. Jan Bellows

Periodontal disease is inflammation of some or all of a tooth's support. When compared to gingivitis, periodontitis indicates bone loss. If left untreated, periodontitis may cause loose painful teeth as well as internal disease.

What Causes Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease is caused by plaque (bacteria). Bacteria are attracted to the tooth surface within hours of the teeth being cleaned. Within days, the plaque becomes mineralized and produces calculus. As plaque ages and gingivitis develops then periodontitis (bone loss) occurs.

What Are The Signs?

Halitosis or bad breath is the primary sign of periodontal disease. Dogs' and cats' breath should not have a disagreeable odor. When periodontal disease advances, the inability to chew hard food as well as excessive drooling with or without blood may occur.

Photo by Dr. Jan Bellows

How Is Periodontal Disease Diagnosed?

Radiograph by Dr. Jan Bellows

Bone loss from periodontal disease occurs below the gum line. In order to evaluate the stage of the disease as well as the best treatment, your pet must be examined under general anesthesia. In addition to a visual examination, x-rays and instruments to measure bone loss are used.

  • Stage 1 gingivitis
  • Stage 2 early periodontitis-less than 25% support loss
  • Stage 3 established periodontitis- between 25-50% support loss
  • Stage 4 advanced periodontitis- greater than 50% support loss

How Is Periodontal Disease Treated?

Treatment depends on the severity of the disease. Stage 1 gingivitis can be treated by teeth cleaning, polishing, application of fluoride to help plaque accumulation, and applying OraVet plaque prevention gel. Stage 2 disease will require deep scaling and the application of a local antimicrobial if a pocket exists. Stage 3 disease is treated similarly in cases where the owner is able to provide and the pet is able to accept daily plaque control at home. Once stage 4 disease occurs, dental scaling and/or surgery is necessary to treat the affected teeth through specific procedures or extraction.

Daily plaque control through tooth brushing is the key to helping prevent periodontal disease. Special foods and treats are also available to help control calculus. Some products are approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council.

Photo by Dr. Jan Bellows

What Is The Prognosis For Periodontal Disease?

Gingivitis is treatable and curable with daily tooth brushing. Periodontal disease is not curable once bone loss occurs, but may be controllable once treated and followed up with strict home care.

The content of this site is owned by Veterinary Information Network (VIN®), and its reproduction and distribution may only be done with VIN®'s express permission.

The information contained here is for general purposes only and is not a substitute for advice from your veterinarian. Any reliance you place on such information is strictly at your own risk.

Links to non-VIN websites do not imply a recommendation or endorsement by VIN® of the views or content contained within those sites.