New Mexico Veterinarians Say Pet Dental Care is Essential to Preventing Health Problems

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., June 23, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- South Valley Animal Clinic and Equine Wellness in Albuquerque, New Mexico are educating pet owners about the importance of pet dental care for preventing health problems. According to the Albuquerque veterinarians, three out of four pets, aged three and older, show symptoms of periodontal disease. Without proactive care, periodontal disease can lead to bacterial infections and tooth loss. The veterinarians say that regular dental cleanings, along with at-home care, are the best way to prevent periodontal disease and other health problems.

With nearly 80 percent of pets over the age of three showing symptoms of periodontal disease, Albuquerque veterinarians Dr. William C. Heite and Dr. Donna M. Trent-Heite are working to stop this increase in pet oral health problems.

"The majority of pet owners have no idea that their pets are suffering from periodontal disease," said Dr. Heite. "Despite their best efforts, pet owners may not identify the symptoms of oral health problems until it is too late and pets have lost teeth or are suffering from a bacterial infection. This is why proactive care is so important. With regular oral exams, our veterinary care team can take the necessary steps to prevent this health problem from occurring."

The buildup of food particles and bacteria along the gum line causes periodontal disease in pets. Since pets cannot brush their own teeth, they have no way to keep their teeth clean after eating. Consequently, food particles remain after every meal, hardening into plaque and forming tartar. Over time, this build up pushes away the gum line, creating pockets that are susceptible to bacterial infection.

"Tartar build up can happen slowly, over a period of several years," said Dr. Trent-Heite. "With regular dental care, our team is able to clean away this tartar build up before serious problems occur."

In addition to raising awareness about periodontal disease prevention, the veterinarians are also educating pet owners about the disease's symptoms.

Common symptoms of periodontal disease include swollen or inflamed gums, bleeding gums, bad breath, reluctance to eat hard foods or play with toys, and excessive drooling.

"A pet's breath may never be a bed of roses, but an especially offensive odor is symptomatic of an oral health problem," said Dr. Heite. "We recommend at-home brushing at least once per week. Brushing a pet's teeth helps to remove food particles before tartar can form, and also helps to keep a pet's breath under control."

The veterinarians recommend an annual dental exam and cleaning for all pets over one year of age. During the dental cleaning, the veterinarians will scrape away tartar build up from the gum line and polish a pet's teeth.

In addition to pet dental care, South Valley Animal Clinic and Equine Wellness also provide equine dental care. Visit to learn more.


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