Beware of Periodontal Disease in Pets amid Longer Lifespans

By Harihara, Yoko | The Daily Yomiuri (Toyko, Japan), October 2, 2015 | Go to article overview

Beware of Periodontal Disease in Pets amid Longer Lifespans


Harihara, Yoko, The Daily Yomiuri (Toyko, Japan)


As pets live longer, more and more are also suffering from dental problems. Veterinarians that advertise their dental services and toothbrushes designed for pets have become more popular, and experts are calling for pet owners to brush their animals' teeth to prevent such diseases.

"I didn't know periodontal disease was so serious," said a Tokyo woman whose miniature dachshund underwent dental surgery.

The dog developed swelling beneath its eyes and began to vomit repeatedly. When the woman took it to a nearby veterinarian, she was told that periodontal disease had melted the dog's upper jaw, resulting in the accumulation of pus at the bottom of its eyes.

She was referred to Centerville Pet Hospital in Meguro Ward, Tokyo, which is known for dental care. They took out the loose teeth and removed tartar, but the condition recurred and more surgery was necessary.

"Serious cases of periodontal disease may trigger heart problems and kidney disease. Appropriate treatment at an early stage is critical," said Isao Habata, director of Centerville Pet Hospital.

According to a 2014 report by the Japan Pet Food Association, the average mid-sized or large dog lives for approximately 13 years, and miniature dogs around 15 years. For cats living indoors, the average lifespan is around 16 years.

"Lifespans are becoming longer," according to the report. The spread of vaccines, better living environments and improved nutritional balance are believed to be the primary reasons.

The risk of periodontal disease increases with age: Data from one U.S. study shows that around 85 percent of small animals aged 6 years and above have periodontal disease. Dogs are especially vulnerable, since they have periodontal disease bacteria in their mouths as puppies.

According to Anicom Insurance Inc., the industry leader in pet insurance, an average of 5. …

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