The Health Dangers of Poor Pet Dental Hygiene

The Health Dangers of Poor Pet Dental Hygiene

Does your cat or dog have stinky breath? Do their teeth seem discolored with visible tartar along the gumline? There’s probably nothing worse than a slobbery kiss from your pet when their mouth is teeming with oral bacteria. If you have been neglecting their dental hygiene, now is the time to have a change of heart. Otherwise, you put their health at risk of different severe diseases, such as:


Blood Sepsis


Also referred to as blood poisoning, this condition is a consequence of a long-standing infection like advanced gum disease that hasn’t been treated. Mouth bacteria can enter your pet’s bloodstream and affect other organs in their body. This can cause septic shock and can be fatal.


Heart Disease


Mouth bacteria that have traveled through your dog’s bloodstream may settle on their heart valves. Bacterial endocarditis, an infection of the heart’s interior, can result in blood clots and abnormal heart function. In some cases, it can lead to heart failure. Although appropriate treatment may let your pet fight off the infection, the damage done to their heart is usually permanent.


Liver Infections


As you know, the liver works by filtering nasty toxins and waste material. When your pet swallows oral bacteria, the infection can also quickly work its way to its liver. Treatment for liver infections is lengthy and complicated. The disease can also be fatal.




Severe dental disease in pets can result in the inflammation of their bone. Osteomyelitis or bone infection is not only excruciating. But it can also lead to a broken jaw that might not heal. This life-threatening disease needs immediate intervention. Depending on the type of infection and its severity, treatment may take a few weeks to several months.


Does Your Pet Have a Dental Disease?


Besides bad breath and stained teeth covered in tartar, other signs may indicate that your pet has dental disease. These include loose teeth, drooling, or bleeding gums. If your pet also drops food from their mouth or seems uncomfortable when you touch somewhere in their mouth or jaw area, it also likely means that they have oral pain. Loss of appetite and loss of weight are other symptoms that you should watch out for.


Several studies have established the link between severe dental infection in pets to various systemic problems. Aside from heart and liver diseases, your animal companion may also be at risk of other health problems. These include kidney issues, lung problems, diabetes complications, and even cancer. Problems during pregnancy are also likely to occur. Experts agree that these severe health concerns start to develop or worsen due to oral bacteria continuously flushing into your pet’s bloodstream. Fortunately, many of these diseases can improve once treated.


Learn more about the health dangers associated with poor pet dental hygiene, contact 4 Paws Veterinary Hospital in Duffield, VA at (276) 431-4838. 

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Dr. Cortney Jessee