Jun 03 2016

Oh no! Does your pet have bad breath?

Does Your Pet Have Halitosis (Bad Breath)?

What is halitosis?
Halitosis, also called bad breath, is as an offensive odor emanating from the oral cavity. Bad breath is a common presenting pet odor complaint. Common causes may be related to the mouth or, rarely, to other health problems.
What causes halitosis?
The most common cause of halitosis is periodontal disease caused by plaque (bacteria). Bacteria are attracted to the tooth surface within hours of teeth cleaning. Within days, the plaque becomes mineralized producing calculus. As plaque ages and gingivitis develops into periodontitis (bone loss), bacteria change from an irritating strain to a bone destroying strain that produces hydrogen sulfide causing halitosis.
What are the signs of halitosis?
Periodontal disease is painful. Some dogs and cats will have problems chewing hard food, others will paw at their mouths. Unfortunately most will not show any signs.
How is halitosis diagnosed?
Halitosis is easily diagnosed by smelling your dog or cats breath. If there is a disagreeable odor, halitosis is present. A veterinary examination is necessary to diagnose the specific cause of bad breath. If the diagnosis is not obvious after oral examination, blood tests will be taken to check for internal disease.
How is halitosis treated?
Halitosis treatment depends on the cause. There are four recognized stages of periodontal disease. The first two (early gingivitis and advanced gingivitis) are treated by professional teeth cleaning. As the disease advances bone loss occurs causing periodontitis, which may require surgery or tooth extraction. Antibiotics may also be used to destroy bacteria causing periodontal disease and halitosis.
What is the prognosis for halitosis?
Once the underlying disease has been treated by your veterinarian professionally cleaning the teeth, the halitosis will disappear. Afterwards, daily tooth brushing will help maintain good oral health and sweet breath. So don’t ignore bad breath in your pet. It can cause serious problems and can be managed successfully in most cases. See your veterinarian for any questions pertaining to odor coming from your pet’s mouth.

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