Halitosis in Dogs and Cats

This is a medical term for bad smell emanating from oral cavity. It can be caused by several medical conditions such as kidney disease, uremia (elevated kidney values), diabetes… etc.  However, the most common cause of that bad breath is the periodontal disease.  Consultation with a veterinarian is necessary for proper diagnosis and treatment.

This condition starts by the invasion of the proteinaceous material formed by saliva coating the smooth surfaces of the teeth (bio-film) by bacteria.  This is known as plague. It can be controlled by regular brushing, chews (dental treats), enzymatic rinses, disinfecting rinses and dental diet singularly or in combinations.

If the plague is not interrupted by one or more of the above methods it will form tartar by a slow process of mineralization.  Bacteria and its byproducts along with decomposed food particles get trapped in the gum lines (dental sulci) and between the teeth producing sulfur gases and volatile fatty acids which have foul smell.  Furthermore, such material along with its associated toxins will cause inflammation of the gums (gingivitis) which develop into periodontal disease.  Ultimately it will be manifested in pain, inflammation of the gums, bone loss, periodontal pockets, and eventually the loss of the teeth.  Not only that, but the toxins produced by that process will be adsorbed into the body and puts considerable stress on the liver, the kidneys and the immune systems.

If your dog or cat is suffering from such problem your veterinarian may recommend a dental procedure which entails through oral examination while the animal is under anesthesia, x-ray may be needed, followed by cleaning and polishing the teeth.  Some treatment can be applied, and teeth extraction may be necessary. Antibiotics and pain control may be prescribed.  Home care is absolutely necessary after performing such procedure.

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