Archive for the ‘Dental hygiene’ Category

Feline Gum and Mouth Disease: Lymphocytic Plasmacytic Gingivits Stomatitis

Because few pet owners care for their pets teeth as well as they take care of their own, low grade gingivitis and periodontitis after 3 years of age, is a very common disease in both dogs and cats.  For the most part, daily home dental care care and an annual dental prophylaxis can control such problems.   However there is a much more serious gum and mouth disease of cats known as “Lymphocytic plasmatcytic gingivitis stomatitis (LPGS)” which is difficult to treat and often results in full mouth extractions.    Before I tell you more about this disease, let us define a few words: Gingivitis refers to inflammation of the gums;  Somatitis refers to inflammation of the mouth as a whole:   Periodontitis refers a progressive inflammation disease of the gums where the bone surrounding the teeth starts to recede.

The exact cause of LPGS is unknown but it is most likely a combination of multiple factors which together create chronic inflammation that eventually results in an auto immune disease.   One theory is that some cats are hypersensitive to bacterial plaque which causes the immune system to over react and mount an extreme inflammatory response that drives a large numbers of white cells, mainly lymphocytes and plasma cells, into the oral tissue.   Other theories implicate feline leukemia, feline immune deficiency virus, and a bacteria known as Bartonella.   Environmental stressors that weaken the cat’s immune system must also be considered to play a part in the disease process.   It has also been proposed that there may be a genetic breed predilection.

As LPGS progresses the major symptoms displayed are results of gum and mouth pain.   Cats have difficulty eating and may even stop eating entirely.   Often cats will approach their food dish as if interested in eating but then run from the food because eating is painful.   Other cats may be fearful of having their face touched.    Owners may notice that their cat will drool excessively and that the saliva may be blood tinged.  Still other cats may paw at their mouth.   Some cats stop eating their dry food because it is too painful but may eat canned food if offered.   Owners often misinterpret this behavior and attribute it to the cat being finicky.   Sometimes the gum pain will cause cats to become reclusive, irritable, or aggressive.   Cats with LPGS often have bad breath.

Confirming the tentative diagnosis of LPGS is performed under light anesthesia after a careful oral exam has been completed.   The exam normally shows extremely red swollen gums and gum tissue that bleeds easily when touched.   The gums are the most frequent oral tissue involved. However, other areas of the mouth may also be inflamed such as the roof of the mouth, the tissue surrounding the tonsils and the lips.  Gum recession and periodontitis are often noted.  It should be realized that there are other conditions such as cancer and “eosinophilic granuloma complex” that resemble LPGS because they produce inflammation and swelling of the mouth and gums, however the treatment protocol is quite different. Consequently a surgical biopsy of the oral tissue involved should be performed and the sample sent out to a pathologist for  histopathology.   Dental x-rays should also be taken to rule out other dental diseases such as retained root tips and cavities which are known as “neck lesions” because they occur at the neck of the tooth, just at or under the gum margin.

Once the diagnosis of LPGS is confirmed the question of how to treat the disease remains.   The primary therapeutic approach is to find ways to reduce the inflammation in the cat’s mouth.  If sensitivity to dental plaque is thought to be the cause then a thorough cleaning of the cat’s teeth including the pockets under the cat’s gums should be performed at least three times yearly.  Home dental care by owners is just as important as the professional teeth cleaning and should be performed on a daily basis.   Unfortunately, many cats with this disease have mouths that are so sore that brushing is impossible so dental antibacterial rinses may be all that can be done.   The problem is that even with frequent professional cleanings and conscientious home care the disease may not be alleviated.   Ongoing oral anti-microbial therapy in conjunction with anti-inflammatory steroid therapy may help at first, but many cats become unresponsive to such therapy.   When all else fails extraction of all the cats teeth may be necessary to give relief from this chronically painful condition and allow the pet to eat and live a comfortable life.   Cats that undergo this procedure will recover quite quickly and go on to eating canned cat food without a problem after the gums have healed.    A few cats may need periodic injections of anti inflammatory medication to deal with flare ups even after full mouth dental extractions.   In such cases long acting steroids have been the only solution available to veterinarians who practice only conventional medicine.  On the other hand holistic veterinarians will attempt to manage the disease with a more natural approach that includes laser therapy, herbal anti inflammatory, natural hydrocortisone therapy, Vitamin C, Coenzyme Q 10, DMSO and even low dose cytokine therapy.  Monolauren therapy may be used in place of antibiotics.

No doubt management of this disease is very challenging for both the conventional and holistic veterinarian and clients need to realize that their cat may be facing a life time of more frequent veterinary visit and home therapy. Anything a cat owner can do to be proactive and maintain the oral health of their pet will pay huge benefits in providing their special friend with a longer carefree life.

To learn more about alternative and holistic health care for pets visit        www. doc4pets.com

 

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Woodside Animal Clinic is a unique, very personal,  one doctor practice where, for over 35 years, Dr. Simon has been healing dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, rodents, and reptiles with both conventional and alternative medicine.  Dr. Simon is certified in Acupuncture, Chiropractic and Stem cell therapy.  He is the author  of 4 pet care books, a past president of the Oakland County Veterinary Medical Association and a regular contributor to Natural Awakenings magazine.   Visit us at Doc4pets.com

Woodside Animal Clinic sees pets from all over Michigan but primarily from the greater Detroit  area  including Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Washtenaw, and Livingston counties.   Cities in these counties including Royal Oak, Berkley, Huntington Woods, Ferndale, Pleasant Ridge, Detroit, Redford, Livonia, Hazel Park, Madison Heights, Warren, Centerline, Clawson,  Troy, Sterling Heights, Southfield, Birmingham, Lathrup Village, Bingham Farms, Franklin, Beverly Hills, Farmington, Farmington Hills, Novi, Wixom, Brighton, Livonia, Plymouth, Commerce, Ann Arbor, Ortonville, Waterford, Clarkston, Union Lake,  Rochester,  Rochester Hills, Auburn Hills, Utica,  Grosse Pointe Farms, Grosse Pointe,  Romeo,  Flint, Hartland,  Lansing, Okemos, Flint, Howell,  Brighton, White Lake, Romeo, Saline, South Lyon, Windsor Canada, Toledo Ohio

 

 

Regular Dental Care Pays Huge Dividends

There is little question that your dog ‘s or cat’s oral hygiene program , or lack thereof, is the weak link in your efforts to keep your pet healthy and free of disease.   There are three reasons that pet owners neglect their pet’s dental care.   The first is that pets are rarely thrilled with the process of daily dental hygiene and are often unwilling to cooperate, thus making such attempts frustrating for pet caregiver and pet alike.   The second reason is simply trying to remember to do it or to fit it into a day full of many other demands.     Thirdly is the necessity to anesthetize pets in order to perform a thorough annual dental prophylaxis and polishing.     All three of the above are legitimate concerns and the problems are clearly understood by most veterinarians.    In the following paragraphs I will address this issue and try to create the understanding that, all though not always easy, any and all efforts to keep your pet’s mouth healthy are extremely worthwhile in maintaining your pet’s good health well into his or her senior years.

Let me begin by pointing out that all though regular dental hygiene may provide your pet with a whiter smile and sweeter breath these are the least of the reasons you should make the effort to maintain the health of your pet’s teeth and gums.    Let me explain.   It is a well known fact that by the time dogs and cats reaches 3 years of age 70% have already developed periodontal (gum) disease.   This gum disease is a result of oral bacteria rapidly multiplying in the dental tartar which provides these injurious microbes with a great breeding ground.    As a result of this large oral bacterial population your pet’s gums may become inflamed and painful, however even more concerning is that these bacteria and their toxins    will enter into the your dog or cats blood stream and travel to the kidneys, liver, and heart where they will slowly damage these organs and over many years significantly contribute to the onset of kidney and liver failure.   Of course, in the early stages of this process there are few if any outward signs of internal organ involvement and the only compelling reason to make the effort of maintaining  good oral hygiene is  your pet’s bad breath,  inflamed gums,  ugly yellow tartar, on the his or her teeth,  and possibly a reduced appetite resulting from painful loose teeth.     Unfortunately the appearance of the mouth is just a preview of more serious problem that will evolve with time.   So try to remember that extending the healthy life of your pets begins when they are young and not with heroic measures when they are old.    You can never make up for this missed opportunity by suddenly becoming highly concerned and attentive when your older pets health begins to fail.

Veterinarians understand well and are highly respectful of the concerns and fears pet owners have of putting their pet under anesthesia.      There is no doubt that anesthesia poses risk for pets just as it does for people.      This being said, if your pet is found healthy on both physical exam and blood testing the liklihood of a life threatening situation developing is extremely low.     On the other hand if you avoid anesthesia and never have your pets teeth professionally cleaned the chances of a life shortening disease developing in the form of early organ failure (i.e.  Kidney disease) are far more likely to occur.   Said another way, the benefits or a regular yearly professional teeth cleaning far out way the risk.     The problem  is that the anesthetic  risk is “ in your face” at the time when you are asked to make the  decision to have your pets teeth cleaned whereas the dangers  of avoiding  this yearly procedure are hidden and  occur in the  form of slow progressive organ degeneration.    So just as driving a car or flying in a plane have their inherent risk we are willing to accept this risk because of the great benefits that are derived.

There is no doubt that daily home dental hygiene is performed by a very low percentage of the pet owning population.    It is not surprising that in lieu of all the demands we have in our lives we are not excited about having one more task to do every morning or night.   This is especially true when the task becomes frustrating or more time consuming than we thought.     That is why I do not ask my clients to brush their pet’s teeth.    I do however ask them perform a daily hygiene procedure that should take only 30 seconds using a dental gel that is easily smeared on the outside of the teeth and gums.

Our clinic carries a dental hygiene product called  Maxigard Oral Cleaning Gel.     This  gel contains  Zinc Ascorbate (Vitamin C).     A couple of drops of this  tasteless gel are placed on the finger which is  then inserted along the upper gum line on both sides and as far back in the pets mouth as you can comfortably reach.     The finger is then withdrawn while spreading the gel along the gum in one quick action.     The gel is only applied to the upper gums because the pets saliva will distributed the gel to the rest of the mouth.    The procedure should take no longer than 30 seconds if you follow the rest of my advice.   I have devised the following plan which will not only help you remember to perform this daily task but will also eliminate the frustration of catching your pet in order to perform the good deed.     Place the Maxigard Gel in a brown bag (it is light sensitive) and leave it by the pets  food supply.    When you go to feed the pet that day you will see the brown bag and remove the bottle and place it by the pets dish of food you have prepare up on the counter (not on the floor).   Your pet will be waiting by your feet anticipating the meal.    Before you serve the food  you will reach down and apply the gel and then immediately place the bowl on the floor.   I a matter of days your pet will look forward to the ordeal because he or she knows that what comes next  is  food.

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Woodside Animal Clinic is a unique, very personal, one doctor practice where, for over 35 years, Dr. Simon has been healing dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, ferrets rodents, and reptiles with both conventional andalternative medicine. Dr. Simon is certified in Acupuncture, Chiropractic and Stem cell therapy. He is the author of 4 pet care books, a past president of the Oakland County Veterinary Medical Association and past board member of the  American Holistic Veterinary Association.   Visit us at  www.doc4pets.com

Woodside Animal Clinic sees pets from all over Michigan but primarily from the greater Detroit area including Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Livingston and Washtenaw counties. Cities in these counties include Royal Oak, Berkley, Huntington Woods, Ferndale, Pleasant Ridge, Detroit, Redford, Livonia, Hazel Park, Madison Heights, Warren, Centerline, Clawson, Troy, Sterling Heights, Southfield, Birmingham, Lathrup Village, Bingham Farms,  Franklin, Farmington, Farmington Hills, Novi, Northville,Wixom, Brighton, Livonia, Plymouth, Commerce, Ann Arbor, Ortonville, Clarkston, Waterford, Union Lake, Rochester, Rochester Hills, Auburn Hills, Utica, White Lake, Grosse Pointe, Romeo, Swartz Creek,  Shelby township, Washington,  Flint, Hartland, Lansing, Okemos, Howell, Brighton, White Lake, Romeo, Saline, South Lyon, Battle Creek, Saginaw, Windsor Canada, Toledo Ohio

 

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF HOME DENTAL CARE FOR PETS

Next to great nutrition,  the one thing caregivers can do to extend the quality and length of their pet’s life is to provide them with good dental care, both at home and professionally.    Regular home dental care is more important for your pet than for yourself.   You may wonder why I feel that way.   Well if you consider that dogs and cats age roughly 7 times faster than humans and that humans are advised to have their teeth clean every 6 months (even when no tartar is visible)  then in order to clean our dog and cat’s teeth proportionately as often we would need to give them a  prophylaxis a little over once a month.    Of course this is obsurd and impracticle to say the least, so most veterinarians compromise and recommend once a year cleaning.      This recommended frequency for a dental prophylaxis equates to cleaning our own teeth once every 14  years .    Can you imagine what your hygenist would say if you came in for your once every 14 year teeth cleaning and told her you had not brushed since the last one.   Given the above information,  you can now understand that,  because of the proportionately greater length of time between teeth cleanings, your pet’s need for home dental care is more important  than your own.

Understand that tartar is a great breeding ground for bacteria and bacterial toxins.    These bacteria and toxins are easily absorbed into you  pet’s circulation  where they pass, via the blood stream, to the liver, kidney, and heart.   Once reaching these vital organs,  the toxins produce unseen damage on a regular day after day basis.    In the begining no symptoms  are noticed but after 5 or 10 years of progressive toxic  damage, organ injury reachs the point  where  the organ  can no longer function properly.    At first there are only abnormal blood tests with no symptoms but as damage progresses  physical symptoms appear.    It often appears to  care giver  that their pet just became sick when, in truth, he or she had been sick for several years.

My point is that daily home dental care is essential in reducing toxic and free radical damage to your pet’s vital organs.     If you simply rely on the annual professional dental prophylaxsis to get rid of your pet’s tartar and do nothing in between  you will have allowed considerable irreparable  damage to occur in the interim.

You response to my above recommendation might be,  ”Dr. Simon, that’s all well and good but I don’t have time to struggle with my dog or cat on a daily basis”.   My reply is that there are a number of  approachs  that make daily dental care easy.    The one I recommend is that my clients use a product known as “Maxigaurd Oral Gel”.   The gel is really a solution of zinc vitamin C which when simply smeared on the upper gums will reduce the build up of tartar,  bacteria and their toxins.   Once getting use to using it,  the process should take no more than 30 seconds.   This daily dental hygiene is part of our overall dental program that includes an annual dental cleaning.  Daily oral vitamin C tablets and Coenzyme Q10 will go along way to encourage healthy gums

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Woodside Animal Clinic is a unique, very personal, one doctor practice where, for over 35 years, Dr. Simon has been healing dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, ferrets rodents, and reptiles with both conventional and alternative medicine. Dr. Simon is certified in Acupuncture, Chiropractic and Stem cell therapy. He is the author of 4 pet care books, a past president of the Oakland County Veterinary Medical Association and past board member of the  American Holistic Veterinary Association.   Visit us at  www.doc4pets.com

Woodside Animal Clinic sees pets from all over Michigan but primarily from the greater Detroit area including Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Livingston and Washtenaw counties. Cities in these counties including Royal Oak, Berkley, Huntington Woods, Ferndale, Pleasant Ridge, Detroit, Redford, Livonia, Hazel Park, Madison Heights, Warren, Centerline, Clawson, Troy, Sterling Heights, Southfield, Birmingham, Lathrup Village, Bingham Farms,  Franklin, Farmington, Farmington Hills, Novi, Northville,Wixom, Brighton, Livonia, Plymouth, Commerce, Ann Arbor, Ortonville, Clarkston, Waterford, Union Lake, Rochester, Rochester Hills, Auburn Hills, Utica, White Lake, Grosse Pointe, Romeo, Swartz Creek,  Shelby township, Washington,  Flint, Hartland, Lansing, Okemos, Howell, Brighton, White Lake, Romeo, Saline, South Lyon, Battle Creek, Saginaw, Windsor Canada, Toledo Ohio