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Charlotte Amalie
Sunday, August 14, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesWHY DOES MY PET'S BREATH SMELL BAD?

WHY DOES MY PET'S BREATH SMELL BAD?

The number one infectious disease of both dogs and cats is periodontal disease. Bacteria in the pet's mouth builds up around the gum line allowing plaque deposits to form. As the plaque thickens more minerals
are deposited forming a hard brown substance called calculus. This is a breeding ground for bacteria. The odor from this bacterial overgrowth and the resulting gum and tooth root infections cause the bad smell from an animal's breath.
This bad breath is trying to tell you something. The bacteria invade under the gum line and attack the tooth roots. Tooth root abcesses can develop. The bacteria can also continue to invade from the tooth root to the jaw bone and into the bloodstream. Once the bacteria is in the bloodstream, it is the job of the kidneys and liver to remove it. Kidney and liver infections can follow. The bacteria can also stick to the valves of the heart causing heart murmurs and resulting heart disease.
Reduction of the bacterial count in the mouth is the best way to prevent these subsequent diseases. Brushing the teeth 2-3 times a week can greatly influence the overall health of the mouth. Pet formulated
toothpaste should be used because animals swallow the paste. Also, the majority of plaque buildup is on the outer surface of the molars and canines. Brushing should concentrate on this area between the lips and
the teeth. Dry pet food, carrots, or rawhide chew strips can also help decrease plaque deposits. If hard deposits of calculi have already formed a professional cleaning by your veterinarian may be necessary. This procedure involves scaling and polishing the teeth as a dental hygienist would do for a person.
Regular dental care will improve the overall health of your pet. The control of harmful bacteria will help control breath odor and in addition can add years to your pet's life.
Editors' note: Dr. Laura Palminteri practices veterinary medicine at Cruz Bay Canines, Cats & Critters on St. John. A 1991 graduate from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, she practiced small animal and equine medicine in New York before opening her practice on St. John.

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The number one infectious disease of both dogs and cats is periodontal disease. Bacteria in the pet's mouth builds up around the gum line allowing plaque deposits to form. As the plaque thickens more minerals
are deposited forming a hard brown substance called calculus. This is a breeding ground for bacteria. The odor from this bacterial overgrowth and the resulting gum and tooth root infections cause the bad smell from an animal's breath.
This bad breath is trying to tell you something. The bacteria invade under the gum line and attack the tooth roots. Tooth root abcesses can develop. The bacteria can also continue to invade from the tooth root to the jaw bone and into the bloodstream. Once the bacteria is in the bloodstream, it is the job of the kidneys and liver to remove it. Kidney and liver infections can follow. The bacteria can also stick to the valves of the heart causing heart murmurs and resulting heart disease.
Reduction of the bacterial count in the mouth is the best way to prevent these subsequent diseases. Brushing the teeth 2-3 times a week can greatly influence the overall health of the mouth. Pet formulated
toothpaste should be used because animals swallow the paste. Also, the majority of plaque buildup is on the outer surface of the molars and canines. Brushing should concentrate on this area between the lips and
the teeth. Dry pet food, carrots, or rawhide chew strips can also help decrease plaque deposits. If hard deposits of calculi have already formed a professional cleaning by your veterinarian may be necessary. This procedure involves scaling and polishing the teeth as a dental hygienist would do for a person.
Regular dental care will improve the overall health of your pet. The control of harmful bacteria will help control breath odor and in addition can add years to your pet's life.
Editors' note: Dr. Laura Palminteri practices veterinary medicine at Cruz Bay Canines, Cats & Critters on St. John. A 1991 graduate from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, she practiced small animal and equine medicine in New York before opening her practice on St. John.