East Texas animal clinic owner says pet dental health frequently overlooked

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Published: Jul. 28, 2022 at 11:25 AM CDT|Updated: Jul. 28, 2022 at 5:52 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Dental health for cats, and especially dogs, is often overlooked. It can cause them great pain and is much harder to treat after periodontal disease has progressed.

According to AVMA, (American Veterinary Medical Association), 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have some form of periodontal disease by age three. Most dental diseases for pets occur below the gumline where you can’t see them.

Owner of Starnes Animal Clinic, Seth Shirey, said about 15 people will get their pets dental health checked at the clinic in a month, but that number should be about 60.

Shirey said dental health care is overlooked because it is slow to progress, and in most cases, the dogs do not act differently, even with infections. “The whole time the dog is eating soft food, wagging its tail, wanting to get attention,” Shirey said.

“People can miss it or ignore it for years and so over time that constant wash of low-grade bacteria into the blood streams starts to break down the kidneys because they have to filter all that stuff,” Shirey said. “It also has a real chance of seeding the valves of the heart and then they will get an infection on those valves, ends up turning into heart murmurs, and eventually heart disease, potentially heart failure, all because of that infection that never stops in the mouth.”

Shirey said the best thing you can do is stay ahead of your pet’s dental health. Check your pet’s gums, especially for small dogs who are more likely to get a dental disease because of their genetics.

“All it takes is lifting up that gum. If you see yellow crusted plaque, if you see gingival inflammation instead of pink gum, if you got like bright cherry engine red gum color, that’s bad,” Shirey said.

If you notice any symptoms, call a clinic early for early treatment, as delayed treatment only worsens the symptoms.

For the month of August, Starnes Animal Clinic is offering $50 off of dental care to help raise awareness of the need for dental health care.

Starnes Animal Clinic is opening a new location on October 3 to update the center and combat the rise in patients. For more information, contact the clinic.

Dental health for cats, and especially dogs, is often overlooked.

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