You are probably familiar with dogs and cats being microchipped, but what about rabbits? With it being National Microchipping Month in June, our Denny veterinary team are here to tell you everything you need to know about microchipping rabbits.
Is your rabbit secure in your home and garden? You would hope so, but rabbits are inquisitive creatures and their curiosity can get them into trouble.
What would you do if your rabbit got lost? Rabbits do not typically wear a collar & ID tag so with no identification, anyone finding your pet would not know who or where to return them to. This is why microchipping rabbits is a good idea.
What is rabbit microchipping?
Microchips are tiny electronic devices that contain all the data needed to trace you if someone finds your lost pet. A microchip is about the same size as a grain of rice. It is implanted just under the skin (usually between the shoulder blades) via an injection. Microchips are designed to last for life and should cause no bother to your pet. If an animal is deemed large enough, our team at Apex Veterinary Centre can microchip them – ask us about microchipping your rabbit.
How is microchipping helpful?
A microchip stores a unique code, which is matched to the owner’s details on a central online database. Apex Vets and other veterinary practices, as well as some animal rescue centres, have special microchip scanners to reveal the code. If you do not keep your contact details up to date on the central database, it may not be possible to reunite you with your rabbit.
Benefits of rabbit microchipping
Microchipping is currently the most effective way to reunite pets with their owners if they are brought into a vet practice or animal shelter without an ID tag – this could be due to a successful escape attempt or if a stolen pet is recovered. With no way to identify the owner, pets are typically put up for rehoming.
Pet theft isn’t just a dog and cat owner issue. Since the start of COVID, pet thefts across a variety of species have risen. In 2021, Darius – the world’s largest rabbit – was stolen from his garden hutch in Worcestershire. Read the BBC news story about Darius here.
The Government Department of Environmental Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) published a Pet Theft Taskforce policy paper in September last year, which outlined measures being taken to tackle the rising number of pet thefts. One of the proposed measures is to have vet practices scan all new pets at their first appointment.
The bottom line is, without any form of identification, pets have little to no chance of being reunited with their owners should the worst happen. Rabbit microchipping is a low-cost, simple way to give your pet rabbit a traceable form of identification and give you peace of mind.
You might think it’s far too early in the year to be preparing your pets for the loud bangs of ‘firework season’ – think again. With less than six months to go until the skies start lighting up again in Stirlingshire, the team at Apex Vets say that noise desensitisation programmes should ideally be started now.
Why are dogs scared of loud noises?
Dogs can fear loud noises because of a previous bad experience, or because they haven’t encountered a noise like it before. A dog’s hearing is much more sensitive than a human’s so what might seem quiet to you, could be loud to your dog.
Noise sensitivity can also be brought on by a health condition, or your pet may have experienced pain (such as arthritis) when there were loud noises and has associated the two sensations. Always bring your pet for a check-up at our Winchester Avenue practice if you are concerned – book a check-up.
What is a noise desensitisation programme?
For dogs, Apex Vets’ nursing team typically recommend that noise desensitisation programmes are done during their puppy socialisation period and should include a range of noises such as:
- TV and Radio
- Children playing
Older puppies and dogs are not ‘too old to learn’, they may just take a little longer. Whether your pet has been through ‘loud noise’ training or not, they may still be afraid of fireworks. These events only happen a few times in the year and many owners aren’t sure how to replicate the experience.
The aim of a noise desensitisation programme is to help your pet remain calm and non-reactive when there are loud noises and ultimately reduce their fear of them.
When it comes to fireworks, this can be best achieved by starting months in advance of ‘firework season’ (end of October through to New Year) and with regular short sessions. That way, you will have plenty of time to build your dog’s confidence and not overwhelm them. As you work through the sessions with your pet, ensure that you remain calm and offer lots of praise and treats to help them create positive associations with the sounds.
Replicating the sounds of fireworks
You can purchase a CD from the PDSA to help puppies and dogs learn to cope with loud noises – view here.
You can also choose a playlist on Spotify for firework sounds.
Our Denny team have put together a short guide to help you plan a noise desensitisation programme for your dog – download our guide.
More help for your dog’s noise sensitivity
Some dogs may continue to struggle with loud noises. Apex Vets’ nursing team recommends talking to one of our experienced Vets for advice. They will be able to check for any medical problems that could be contributing to your dog’s noise sensitivity. The Vet may also suggest enlisting the help of an accredited pet behaviourist.
We hope you found our advice helpful and when ‘firework season’ comes around, we hope your dog will have learnt to cope better. Remember, there are lots of things you can do during noisy events such as using the TV, radio, or playtime to distract your pet.
There’s no time to lose, download our guide and get started today. Let us know how you get on by sharing your comments on our Facebook page.
Dog bite prevention week is recognised in many countries between April & May each year to bring attention to the risk of dog bites and share preventative advice. In this article, the team from Apex Vets are sharing important tips and resources to help Stirlingshire residents prevent dog bites in children and adults.
April 1st – May 2nd is also National Pet Month, in which responsible pet ownership is the theme and a perfect backdrop for this article’s topic.
13 tips for preventing dog bites
Most dog bites don’t come from dogs who are deemed ‘aggressive’, they occur in the home with family dogs or dogs who are well known. Pets who are described by their owners as placid, loving, and “wouldn’t hurt a fly” can all snap and bite if they feel agitated, threatened, frightened, vulnerable, unwell, or in pain.
As well as the obvious physical injury, a dog bite can cause complex psychological issues. If a dog bites a child (or lunges at them) especially, they can develop a long-term fear of all dogs. Dogs can ‘learn’ that this behaviour is needed to stop the action that is bothering them. This is a real shame as children and dogs can both benefit from forming a close bond together.
Therefore, it is advisable to practice these 13 do’s & don’ts of dog interactions:
- Do choose the right dog breed for your family and home setup – remember, all cute puppies grow into adult dogs with big teeth
- Do ensure your puppy’s (or older dog’s if you missed this stage) socialisation experiences include being around children
- Do train your pet from a puppy into adulthood on how to be well-mannered in the home and out & about
- Don’t use fear to train a dog as this is harmful and can lead to unwanted reactions in everyday situations
- Don’t assume your dog won’t bite just because you perceive it not to be in their nature
- Don’t leave children alone with dogs
- Do teach children from a young age how to behave around dogs, including not playing aggressive games with them, pulling their ears or tail, or anything else that may agitate them
- Do act calm around dogs, especially if they are unfamiliar to you
- Do supervise children feeding or walking a dog
- Don’t let your child discipline a dog
- Don’t invade a dog’s space without their permission – let them come to you (avoid letting young children hug & kiss dogs)
- Do teach children to always ask the owner’s permission to stroke their dog and where the dog likes to be stroked
- Don’t allow your child to approach a dog in someone else’s garden or car
Socialisation & training
Socialisation should ideally be started around 8 – 16 weeks of age, when a puppy’s brain is like a sponge absorbing all the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, experiences, and opportunities to learn that they can. Most older dogs can be socialised too with a little more time and patience.
Socialisation and training (into adulthood) are not about obedience. They are about building confidence and developing clear communication with your dog. If your dog understands your request and how to respond to it and has self-confidence, they are less likely to get fearful or frustrated, which are both common causes of dog bites.
Ask our Denny nurses for puppy socialisation advice on our Facebook page here
Learn how to be safe around dogs
The team from Apex Vets recommend these helpful resources below to help your whole family become smarter and safer around dogs.
First, take our Dog Safety Quiz to test how much your family members currently know.
Then, work through these Dogs Trust resources and get everyone to re-take our Quiz.
Remember, don’t give the answers away until after retaking the quiz!
Let us know how you got on by sharing your results on our Facebook page.
Travelling with your dog can be a joy, especially when you reach your destination. Being able to travel with any pet is a necessity though, for visits to the vets or the groomers, and taking them to a pet sitter or boarding facility.
Are you wondering how to travel safely, or how to stop travel sickness in dogs, cats, and other pets? To support National Pet Month, which promotes responsible pet ownership, our Vet Calum has some helpful travel advice just in time for the summer holiday season.
Ensuring an incident-free journey
Pet travel sickness and safety go hand in hand – making sure your pets feel safe in the car can help to reduce their anxiety and sickness. Motion sickness is more commonly seen in puppies and other young pets because their ear structures used for balance aren’t fully developed yet. Stress can also lead to travel sickness, which can affect all pets so if you only ever drive your pets to the vets to be poked and prodded (we offer other services too), anxiety may lead to nausea and vomiting.
Practising safe car travel will not only help to keep your pets safe, it will also help to keep you out of trouble with the law – letting your pets be a distraction whilst driving is a fineable offence. So, let’s dig in. Calum has listed some important pet travel safety advice to help you below, and you can download our handy Pet Travel Sickness Guide too.
Cat & dog travel sickness symptoms and small furry stress
First, Calum advises pet owners to be aware of cat and dog travel sickness symptoms: inactivity (mostly dogs), yawning, whining/meowing, excessive drooling, vomiting, and smacking or licking lips. Stress in small furry pets presents in many ways including a reluctance to move, not eating or toileting, hiding, and aggression.
10 travel safety tips for pets
Calum shares their top tips for reducing the risk of accidents, injuries, stress, and a driving penalty with your pet in the car:
- Never let your pet travel in the front passenger seat as they could be seriously injured if the airbag releases.
- Secure dogs on your back seat with a seatbelt and harness, or in a dog crate on the back seat or in the boot. If using a seatbelt, never clip it to your dog’s collar, and consider using a dog travel seat that keeps your dog contained and stops them from slipping into the footwell.
- Secure cats & small furries in a secure cat or small pet carrier either on the back seat (with a seat belt if possible) or in a foot well. A small pet carrier must have air holes, and it is advisable to add a deep bed of hay plus a shelter to hide in. Put some cucumber (or moist veggies) in with small furries so they have a water source on the journey.
- Lie crates and carriers as flat as possible and put comfortable bedding in them.
- Make sure nothing can fall on your pet or cause them harm i.e. avoid piling up suitcases, bags, tools, or other items next to them and keep food out of their reach.
- Reduce stress and avoid fighting by never putting pets in the same crate or carrier – pet fights whilst driving can be very dangerous for your pets, you, and other drivers. Plus, if you have an accident, your pets may bang into each other and cause further injury.
- In warm weather, use sunshades on your windows, try to avoid travelling at the hottest times of the day and long journeys, and never leave your pet in a parked car.
- Always take water and a bowl with you on car journeys and take regular breaks to check your pet is ok – avoid using cooling coats as these can dry out and trap the heat in.
- Reduce other distractions in the car such as music, so you can focus on driving first and foremost, and can hear anything concerning that you need to park up and address.
- Take extra care with speed, speed bumps, and sudden stops or turns to avoid your pet being thrown around in the car.
So, there you have it – ten excellent pieces of advice to help you ensure a safe journey for you and your pets. We haven’t forgotten about the dreaded travel sickness – you can get our tips for reducing this here in our handy guide:
Preparation can mean the difference between life and death in first aid scenarios, according to our Vet Nurse, Clare. This is why the team at Apex Vets are recommending that all dog owners in Stirlingshire get themselves a pet first aid kit.
First though, check out our First Aid Tips for Dog Adventures – a guide to recognising conditions that need first aid and immediate veterinary care.
Whilst as owners we should aim to get our pet veterinary care as quickly as possible in an emergency, there are often scenarios where this is problematic. Imagine that your location or circumstances prevent you from getting to the clinic quickly, or your dog’s injury is life threatening and needs an interim measure to protect them before they can travel.
Clare advises that having a pet first aid kit to hand is crucial in being able to offer vital support when it is needed most. It also gives you piece of mind that you have the tools available to help your pet in the first instance.
Pet first aid supplies – what should your kit contain?
There are many different types of pet first aid kits. How comprehensive yours need to be will depend on what you are doing or where you are. If you are fairly local, you may carry a smaller kit compared to being on a holiday away from local amenities.
Useful pet first aid supplies include:
1.Bandages – different types (first aid courses can teach how to bandage properly)
3.Wound wash – saline preferable
6.Tick removal tools
9.Vinyl gloves / alcohol gel for sanitising hands
13.A blanket to use as a stretcher
14.Any medication your pet receives
15.Details for your local Vets – here are ours
16.Details for local vets for the area you are visiting
Having this equipment to hand means you are well prepared for the most common emergencies – download our dog first aid tips to learn what these might be.
Why some of the above items are so important
Clare explains that different types of bandages can help to stop bleeds, slow down blood loss, or protect a wound whilst transporting your pet. Tweezers can help you remove thorns or stings; never remove any big items that could be going through an artery, and use a special tick removal tool for dog ticks. Gloves and alcohol gel will help to ensure you are clean when cleaning wounds with the saline.
When it comes to blankets, Clare shares why you need two types in your pet first aid kit. Foil blankets are useful for helping to keep your pet warm and preventing shock after a trauma. Using a blanket as a stretcher is also very important for any injuries to the spine or limbs. If you can carry your pet on a stretcher, they will be more supported and comfortable then carrying them in your arms.
Keeping details of both your Vet practice and a local Vet if you adventuring far from home, will mean you are not frantically searching for the details of an emergency Vet.
Learn your DR ABCS
Whenever faced with an emergency always remember DR ABCS:
·Danger – keep safe from the environment or your pet; a scared dog or any other animal may lash out
·Response – check if your dog is responsive by calling their name
·Airway – is their airway clear?
·Breathing – are they breathing?
·Circulation – do they have a pulse or heartbeat?
·Send – send someone to go and find help
Always ensure wherever you go, no matter how close to home you are, that you carry your pet first aid kit. Also, remember to replace items you have used – there is nothing worse than needing something in an emergency and it not being in your kit!
Clares’ final piece of advice for dog owners in Stirlingshire, is to learn how to recognise common dog health emergencies – download & share our helpful guide below.
Cats and dogs are naturally inquisitive animals. This has many benefits but can also get them into trouble! A common problem in the spring and summer months is Bee or Wasp stings. Our Vet Calum, has some advice for Stirlingshire owners of cats and dogs on this topic.
To help you tell the difference between bees, wasps, and hornets, our Denny vet nurses have put together a handy guide for you to download.
Why do bees sting cats and dogs?
Often in the warmer months we spend more time outdoors and naturally our animals will then spend more time nosing at the flowers. This is typically how cats and dogs get stung as their inquisitive noses disturb the bees and wasps collecting pollen. Trying to catch a buzzing insect can also seem like a fun game…until they get stung!
Signs that your cat or dog has been stung
In most cases, owners will not actually see the stinging occur. Instead, you may see your pet suddenly shaking or pawing at their head or body, or they have a swollen face all of a sudden.
Typical bee and wasp sting symptoms include:
- Swelling (often around the muzzle where they have been sticking their nose in)
- Constantly licking either at a specific area or their lips if the sting is inside the mouth
- Redness around the area where the sting went in
- Pawing at the area
- Vocalising more than usual
Severe symptoms could include:
- Breathing difficulties, especially in brachycephalic breeds if the sting is around the throat area
- Vomiting and diarrhoea
- Allergic reaction such as anaphylactic shock (although this would be very rare)
How to treat a bee or wasp sting on a cat or dog
Unless you saw the stinging occur, it will be difficult to tell if your pet was stung by a wasp or a bee. Either way, you can use our first aid tips below.
First, you want to make sure the sting is removed. Our Denny vet nurses suggest using something flat like a credit card to scrape the sting off your pet’s skin and dispose of it. Avoid using tweezers to pull the sting out as they could squeeze venom into your pet.
Second, if you do know whether it was a bee or a wasp, you could apply the correct substance to soothe the pain;
- Wasp = vinegar/lemon juice
- Bee = bicarbonate of soda & water paste
Do you know the difference between a bee and a wasp? Download our Know Your Insects Guide
If you do not know the culprit, or after you have used the above first aid advice, you can then apply a cold pack to the swelling.
When to call a Vet
If you are at all concerned, especially if the swelling is causing further distress to your pet or is likely to affect an airway, you should always ring a Vet for advice. Our Winchester Avenue veterinary team are here to help, just give us a call on 01324 829 989.
Some pets may need pain medication, which can be prescribed by one of our Vets too.
Stirlingshire pet owners sometimes ask if they can use antihistamines to help with the reaction; these can only be prescribed by the Vet to ensure the correct dosage is given, and because some ingredients could possibly be fatal in some brands.
Just to be safe this season, why not print our Know Your Insect guide and stick it on your fridge to help you spot the differences between bees, wasps, and hornets?
Remember to share this advice with your pet-loving friends on Facebook!
Spring is the ideal time to spruce up your garden after a gloomy winter. It is also your chance to garden with your pets in mind, so you can have a pet-friendly space all year round.
The team at Apex Veterinary Centre have collated some important ideas below to help Stirlingshire pet owners make their garden a safe space for their four-legged friends. With our no-fuss guide, you can pet-proof your garden and keep your dogs, cats, or rabbits happy and healthy all year long.
Plants are an integral part of many gardens but some can be harmful, even deadly. Our Denny Vets have also put together this helpful guide to highlight the signs to look out for, what to do if you suspect poisoning, and common toxic plants. You can download our guide here:
Pet-proofing your garden is mostly about making it safe for exploration. Look at your garden as a whole and imagine your pet exploring it. Remember, animals are curious and mostly led by smell, so if your dog, cat, or rabbit can physically reach somewhere, it is not ‘off limits’ to them.
Below is a comprehensive list of ways to make your garden safe. Adopting these strategies to pet-proof your garden now will make life easier later and ensure your pets have a safe outdoor space to enjoy all year long.
How to pet proof your garden
Apex Vets’ team suggests your to-do-list should include:
- Pet proof your garden fence and fix any gaps in boundaries where your pet could escape through.
- Get rid of broken bottles, sharp stones, and other obvious hazards.
- Tidy away tools and anything you do not want your pet ‘playing’ with or nibbling.
- Relocate or reorganise piles of bricks or wood so they can’t topple over.
- Make places your pet could get trapped inside or under inaccessible and close shed doors.
- Fence off areas your pet could fall from and any bodies of water.
- Put harmful substances on high shelves and behind cupboard doors.
- Choose pet-safe plants and remove toxic plants for pets – remember that parts of plants can be spread throughout your garden by wildlife and wind.
- Remove/relocate bulbs that could harm pets – cover soil in netting so pets can’t dig them up.
- Grow vegetables in raised beds – put netting over to keep out curious paws and noses.
- Only use pet-safe products to repel insects, slugs, and snails.
- Don’t leave pet bowls and toys out overnight – slugs/snails can cause lungworm in dogs.
- Lawns: beware as grass seeds can get lodged in eyes and cut grass is toxic when eaten.
- Clean up any animal faeces (not just your pet’s) to avoid your pet eating it and becoming unwell or potentially contracting worms.
- Remember that wildlife frequents your garden too and may drop food that contains bones, raw meat, raisons, or other toxic ingredients – check your garden before letting your pet out.
- And finally, monitor your pet’s time outside. Our Vet Calum cannot stress this enough – accidents and escape attempts can happen fast.
If you have followed this list, your garden should be a safe and happy place for your pet to hang out in. You could go a step further by creating dedicated areas in your garden for digging, playing, relaxing, and toileting of course, maybe even connected by a pet-friendly garden path. This creates a harmonious outdoor space that works for you and your pets.
Remember to download our Pet Plant Poisons Guide below. Also, why not share our article on pet-proofing your garden with your pet-loving friends and family on Facebook or email?
Some cats may not love going to the vets, but visits don’t have to be a nightmare. Our nurse Fiona, and the team at our Denny vet practice, are sharing their top tips for making vet visits easier for you and your cat.
How to get your cat to the vets
Where to start…
Having your cat accept a cat carrier is important for any time you need to take them for routine or emergency care. A familiar carrier can give your cat a safe sanctuary that makes veterinary visits more tolerable for them.
Our cat-loving team have put together their top tips for helping your cat learn to accept a carrier and making vet visits as stress free as possible.
Eight tips for calmer vet visits with your cat
1. Choose a cat carrier that is both sturdy and secure to avoid your cat escaping – you will need one carrier per cat to avoid stressing them out when travelling.
2. Carriers with an opening at the top can be easier to lift your cat in and out of. Front opening carriers can be useful if your cat is good at climbing in and out themselves when needed.
3. Get your cat used to their carrier by treating it as part of the furniture at home. This will create a positive association instead of signalling ‘Alert – Vet Visit’:
a. Leave it out around the house with the door open/lid off
b. Place some of your cat’s bedding and toys inside so it smells familiar
c. You can also put your own clothing inside to help your cat settle
d. Allow your cat to use it as a bed if they wish
e. Putting treats inside can encourage your cat to give it a go
4. Spray Feliway inside the carrier 30 minutes before putting your cat in to help them relax – ask us about cat calming products.
5. Put a towel loosely over the carrier during the car journey and whilst in the waiting area at our Denny vet practice – this will enable your cat to hide and feel safe. If you forget the towel, we can provide you with one or we have blankets for use when waiting in our Cat Lounge.
6. Secure the carrier on a level surface in your car ideally using a seatbelt on the rear seats or in one of the footwells.
7. Avoid playing loud music. Instead, talk to your cat in a soothing voice during the journey.
8. Once at our Denny practice, make use of our Cat Lounge where you can use our cat tower to place your carrier on. Being up high and hiding can reduce stress and help your cat cope in unfamiliar surroundings.
So, there you have it; give our top tips a go and let us know how you get on via our Facebook page.
One final piece of advice from Fiona and the Apex Vets’ team; take some spare bedding with you just in case of ‘accidents’. If your cat does make a mess, this could be due to them feeling unsure in their surroundings, or they are just desperate for the toilet. Avoid telling them off as this will undo all your hard work getting them to this point.
February 22nd is World Spay Day and the last Tuesday of the month is recognised each year to promote the many benefits of pet neutering. Here at Apex Veterinary Centre in Denny, we are supporting this campaign by sharing advice with current and future pet owners.
Neutering, desexing, castrating, spaying, ‘being done’ – our Vet, Rachael, explains that all of these terms mean the removal of a pet’s reproductive organs.
Most mammals can (and will, given the chance) mate from a very young age, even with siblings. This can have a negative impact on their health, your home situation, and is a big cause of unwanted animals ending up without a home.
According to the Cats Protection charity, research shows that around 70% of cat pregnancies are unplanned – that is a lot of unexpected kittens to care for.
Preventing unwanted pregnancies is the most obvious benefit people associate with pet neutering and whilst this is extremely important, there are many other benefits too. Rachael and our Denny team are sharing more benefits of pet neutering below, to help current pet owners and anyone thinking of getting a new pet make this important decision.
Benefits of neutering your pet
Neutering can be one of the kindest things you can do for your pet as it provides a number of benefits that will protect their health and happiness including:
- Prevents unexpected and unwanted pregnancies
- Prevents seasons and phantom pregnancies, which can be stressful
- Eliminates health risks that come with pregnancies
- Reduces risk of mammary tumours (breast cancer)
- Prevents life-threatening pyometra (uterine infection)
- Reduces risk of prostate disease
- Eliminates risk of testicular cancer
- In dogs and cats, neutering reduces wandering to find a mate, lowering the chances of being involved in a road accident – also stops male pets turning up on your doorstep
- May help with behavioural issues such as sexual aggression and territorial marking/spraying
Neutering small pets
As well as the benefits listed above, neutering rabbits and ferrets can make it easier to bond opposite sex pairs. With rabbits, this eliminates risk of uterine adenocarcinoma which affects up to 60% of rabbits over 3 years old.
With guinea pigs, usually only the male is neutered if he is going to be paired with a female – neutering will not stop fighting between males. Neutering female guinea pigs, there is a risk of ovarian cysts.
Potential disadvantages of neutering
- Weight gain can be an issue for some pets. This can be offset with a lower-calorie diet, more exercise, and regular weight checks with one of our practice nurses
- Urinary incontinence affects approximately 9% of spayed female dogs but this can be well controlled with medication
- Due to hormonal changes, the pet’s coat condition may change over time
- Learned behaviours that go beyond hormones may not alter after neutering
- Certain dog breeds may benefit from being neutered later than the typical six months of age marker – this is why you should always get advice from your Vet.
The many benefits of neutering can help your pet live their best life. We are always here to help, so do get in touch if you would like more advice.
Dental disease in cats is more common than you might think, affecting around 85% of cats over the age of three according to International Cat Care. With February being Pet Dental Health Month, Apex Vets’ experienced team are here to help owners understand the dental problems their cat could be living with.
Plaque & tartar – the common culprits
Nurse, Fiona, explains why so many cats have dental issues. Periodontal disease is typically associated with the build-up of plaque (layer of bacteria) and the formation of tartar deposits (hard yellow/brown substance) on the teeth. Left untreated, periodontal (dental) disease can develop, affecting the teeth as well as the supporting structures i.e. gums, ligaments, and bone.
Types of feline dental disease
– Gingivitis can be very painful and ranges from mild to severe; signs include red and inflamed gums, excessive drooling and bad breath, pawing at the mouth, difficulty eating, and bleeding in some cases.
– Periodontitis is severe gum disease, common in older cats with a lot of tartar deposits. Diseased ligaments begin to break down, exposing the roots and making the teeth unstable. Bacterial infection can be present and extraction is usually needed. Inflamed and receding gums are common signs.
– Stomatitis – Chronic gingivostomatitis is when inflammation spreads from the gingiva (gums) to other areas, often at the back of the mouth. It is extremely painful and cats will find it difficult to eat, probably lose weight, drool excessively, and show signs of pain such as pawing at the mouth. Some cases have been linked with persistent FCV and FIV infection.
– Feline resorptive lesions (FRLs) are erosions in the tooth in or below the gum line, commonly found in cats over five years old. Left untreated, the crown can come off leaving the root exposed.
– Fractures can be caused if the tooth is weakened and/or through eating extra hard food, engaging in rough play or hunting, or trauma.
Are some cats predisposed to dental disease?
Yes. Cats with misaligned teeth are more likely to develop dental disease; food gets trapped and can’t be cleaned effectively through diet and dental aids. Short-nosed breeds, congenital abnormalities (such as overbite/underbite), trauma, and deciduous tooth retention (when baby teeth don’t fall out and cause adult teeth to grow abnormally) are all causes of tooth misalignment. Other predisposing factors are an unsuitable diet and some infectious, preventable diseases.
How often should cats visit a Vet Dentist?
Prevention and early diagnosis are key to protecting your cat’s oral health. Prevent disease by vaccinating your cat annually, and help to prevent plaque and tartar build-ups through regular home cleaning and a suitable diet. Our Denny team can help you with all of this so do get in touch.
It is wise to book a 6-month check-up in between your cat’s annual vaccination & health check – a lot can change in a year and cats tend to hide pain. Checking regularly at home is a good idea too if your cat will let you. You are looking for red/swollen/bleeding gums, receding gums, excessively bad breath, tartar deposits, and missing/broken teeth.
As with all pet health concerns, we are on hand to help. Fiona recommends booking a dental check-up and talking to one of our Vets. Our Vet Nurses can also help you master the art of caring for your cat’s teeth at home, so don’t struggle alone.