Ask The Vet

Ask The Vet

Studies show a significant link between periodontal disease and heart disease in both humans and dogs.  Researchers suspect the culprit is bacteria in the mouth which enters the bloodstream.

It works like this. When the surface of the gums is weakened it can become compromised. The breakdown of the gum tissue opens the door for the bacteria to enter your dog’s bloodstream. If your pup’s immune system doesn’t kill off the bacteria in its mouth, it then begins to circulate in the blood, giving it the chance to reach the heart and infect it.

The link between dental and heart disease was discovered in a recent study involving 60,000 dogs with some stage of periodontal disease (and 60,000 without) conducted by Dr. Larry Glickman at Purdue University.

"Our data show a clear statistical link between gum disease and heart disease in dogs," says Dr. Glickman. "For many candidates for heart disease, you're not talking about a single cause. But it clearly speaks to more emphasis on dental care."This is why good daily dental care is so important for your dog. If you aren’t taking care of your dog’s teeth right now, don’t feel bad. You’re not alone!

According to The American Animal Health Association, almost two out of three of pet owners don’t provide basic dental care recommended by their veterinarians. Considering four out of five dogs over the age of four already have some sort of periodontal disease, it's imperative to be proactive when it comes to the health of your dog's teeth. Unfortunately, routine dental cleanings at your vet can be both expensive and dangerous.

The average cost to prevent dental disease in pets is $171.82. And if your dog already has dental disease it will cost you more. And while these costs are not cheap, studies show what scares most people away is not the price – it's the process!

To get your dog's teeth properly cleaned  by your veterinarian, your dog  will have to be put asleep under anesthesia. This can be a major health risk for some dogs, depending on the breed, weight and age of the dog.  Not only can a typical vet visit for dental care cost you almost $200 (or sometimes more) – it can also cost your dog its life.

If your dog has bad breath, don’t wait. Ask the vet for suggestions that might correct the problem.

Dr. Robert K. Fitzpatrick