- Plaque (a transparent film of bacteria, cells and food particles) forms and sticks on tooth surfaces
- Plaque build up causes bad breath and redness or inflammation of the gum line (gingivitis)
- Plaque can begin to calcify within 72 hours and form tartar (a visible shell on the outer surface of the tooth)
- Increased inflammation of the gums becomes evident and may cause bleeding at the gum line
- Tartar stuck on the tooth surfaces is covered with newly formed plaque
- The bacteria in plaque secretes toxins and enzymes which cause further inflammation of surrounding periodontal tissues
- With continued gingivitis, some loss of tissue attachment begins at the gum line and leads to the beginning stages of bone loss around tooth roots
- The mouth can be quite painful and uncomfortable when eating
- Recession of the gums due to tartar buildup
- Gingivitis may progress to infection of the tissues and bone around the tooth roots and the tooth (or often a few teeth!) may need to be extracted
- A change in eating habits may be noticed – either not wanting to eat at all or swallowing food without chewing
Throughout all stages of periodontal disease, bacteria can be picked up and carried by the bloodstream to the liver, kidneys and heart. Brushing your pet’s teeth daily and feeding them an appropriate dental diet can help decrease oral bacteria and stop dental disease in its tracks.
**Thank you to our wonderful mouth model, Daisy, a 4 year old Maltipoo.
As your pet begins to age, their organ systems are often affected. Having annual exams and bloodwork performed on them will help your veterinarian to proper evaluate your pet’s health status, internal organs and catch any disease processes early. Some common disease processes that occur in senior pets include:
- Kidney disease
- Heart disease
- Liver disease
- Dental disease
- Intestinal disease (irritable bowel disease, colitis)
- Endocrine disease (thyroid issues, diabetes, adrenal gland disease)
What are some benefits of senior pet wellness bloodwork?
Comparing Baseline Values
Comparing current bloodwork results to baseline results from previous years will help identify subtle changes to your pet’s health. If all test results are normal, then you have piece of mind that your pet is healthy, inside and out.
Identify Unseen Disease at an Early Age
Not all disease processes show signs on the outside before making changes on the inside of your pet. Identifying disease before clinical signs appear allows for a better chance of a successful outcome and can often lessen the cost of treatment.
There are many common age-related illnesses, which require medication. Bloodwork can help determine whether or not a medication will be safe for your pet.
Senior pets often require anesthesia more frequently than younger pets for common procedures such as dental surgery or skin growth removal. Bloodwork is a vital part of pre-anesthetic evaluation of all pets.