Caries in dogs occurs with the same frequency as in humans. In 80-85% of dogs entering the veterinary clinic, there are problems with teeth of varying severity. Caries not only affects the state of the digestive system, but also the functions of other organs. Often caries leads to a violation of the working qualities of the dog, for example, in hunting dogs, in which the capture of teeth is of great importance, the pathology of the teeth leads to a weakening of the grip.
Causes of pathology
Despite the fact that caries has been known to humanity for more than a hundred years, the causes of its occurrence are still not fully understood. The history of dentistry has about 400 versions that explain the causes and mechanism of caries. The main theory is Miller, according to which, under the influence of various organic acids, demineralization of the tooth enamel and damage to the hard tissues of the tooth occur. The reasons for the violation of the protective layer of enamel can be:
- mechanical factors - injuries during removal of tartar, chips and cracks when crushing hard objects;
- chemical - changes in the pH of saliva and increased content of organic acids in the feed, and their development as a result of the vital activity of some pathogenic microorganisms.
Veterinary dentists name the following factors affecting the condition of hard tooth tissues in dogs:
- the urbanized maintenance of animals, in which dogs eat thermally processed food, gnaws less, disrupting the natural process of cleaning teeth from plaque and tartar;
- hereditary factors - abnormalities in the development of tooth tissues and the causes leading to caries (for example, an incorrect bite) are inherited;
- Breed - Scientists have determined that there are breeds of dogs that have a higher risk of developing caries than others. For example, the incidence of pathology among representatives of small breeds is 5–15% higher than that of medium breeds, and by 25–35% caries is more common than that of large breeds;
- improper diet - a large amount of carbohydrates in food, low content of minerals (calcium, fluorine, phosphorus, iodine, manganese);
- transferred severe infectious and parasitic diseases (plague of carnivorous animals, leptospirosis) - they reduce local immunity and provoke the development of pathogenic microflora in the oral cavity;
- metabolic disorders (diabetes, obesity);
- age-related dystrophic processes leading to demineralization of bone tissue and teeth.
The causes of caries are numerous, and the absence of veterinary dentists leads to the fact that even in exhibition specimens, during examination, they find caries and other dental diseases. Therefore, the owner of the dog must know the symptoms of caries in order to promptly seek help and to prevent the loss of teeth in the pet.
Symptoms and signs of the disease
Symptoms for caries change in accordance with the progression of pathology. At the initial stage of the disease, dark spots appear on the dog’s teeth and an unpleasant, putrid odor from the mouth. Then caries caverns are formed, filled with food particles. The dog increases salivation, and there are difficulties with chewing food.
If the destruction reaches the nerve endings, then the animal experiences pain, whining, refusing to eat, losing weight. When examining the teeth, swelling of the gums, its redness, soreness with pressure is noted. The stability of a tooth is lost - it begins to stagger.
The owner of a dog can notice many of the listed symptoms independently. If there are signs of caries, you should contact a specialized veterinary clinic, where a doctor after a visual inspection will appoint an X-ray to determine the degree of tooth decay. Based on the data obtained, therapeutic or surgical treatment of the disease is prescribed.
Treatments for caries
When a tooth is superficially damaged, its surface is cleaned and a solution of silver nitrate is applied to stop the progression of pathology. In order to establish how far the destruction process has gone, the tooth is treated with a special substance that stains the affected tissues.
In case of deep destruction, tooth filling with the use of cement, plastics or composite materials may be required. The cost of this procedure depends on the clinic, the material used to seal the cavity and the use of anesthesia, which can be a decent amount.
In the case when the save tooth fails, it is removed. To prevent the occurrence of caries in the pet, it is necessary to comply with measures to prevent the disease.
To exclude the appearance of dental diseases, it is necessary to teach a dog from an early age to carry out hygienic procedures of the oral cavity - brushing teeth, removing tartar. Manufacturers of dog food take into account the needs of animals of different ages in mineral supplements, develop the size and density of the pieces, depending on the breed. Therefore, the use of high-quality food helps prevent caries.
In order to ensure the natural process of cleaning the teeth from plaque and strengthening the jaws, the dog is given bones and pressed cartilage, which can be purchased at the pet store. The animal periodically needs to be taken for examination at a veterinary clinic, especially representatives of the breeds at risk - decorative dogs, animals with congenital anomalies of the jaws, old and sick animals.
Careful attitude to the state of the oral cavity in a pet will prevent the occurrence of caries or its development at an early stage and will save the animal's teeth.