Caries in dogs occurs with the same frequency as in humans. 80-85% of dogs that fall into a veterinary clinic have problems with teeth of varying degrees of severity. Caries not only affects the digestive system, but also the functions of other organs. Often tooth decay leads to a disruption in the working qualities of the dog, for example in hunting dogs, in which the capture of prey is very important, the pathology of the teeth leads to a weakening of the grip.
Causes of pathology
Despite the fact that caries is known to mankind for more than a hundred years, the reasons for its occurrence are still not fully understood. The history of dentistry has about 400 versions explaining the causes and mechanism of caries. The main theory is Miller's theory, according to which, under the influence of various organic acids, the tooth enamel is demineralized and the hard tissues of the tooth are damaged. The reasons for violation of the protective layer of enamel can be:
- mechanical factors - trauma when removing tartar, chips and cracks when gnawing solid objects;
- chemical - the change in the pH of saliva and the increased content of organic acids in the feed, and their production as a result of the vital activity of certain pathogenic microorganisms.
Veterinary dentists call the following factors affecting the condition of hard tooth tissues in dogs:
- The urbanized maintenance of animals, in which dogs eat thermally processed food, is less gnawed, disrupting the natural process of cleaning teeth from plaque and tartar;
- hereditary factors - anomalies in the development of tooth tissues and the causes that lead 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. So, for example, the frequency of occurrence of pathology in representatives of small breeds is 5-15% higher than in middle breeds, and 25-35% are more common in caries than in large breeds;
- malnutrition - a large amount of carbohydrate in food, low content of minerals (calcium, fluorine, phosphorus, iodine, manganese);
- transferred severe infectious and parasitic diseases (plague 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 reasons for the appearance of caries are many, and the absence of veterinary dentists leads to the fact that even in exhibition specimens, caries and other dental diseases are found during examination. Therefore, the owner of the dog should know the symptoms of tooth decay, in order to seek help in a timely manner and prevent the loss of teeth in the pet.
Symptoms and signs of the disease
Symptoms in caries vary according to the progression of the pathology. At the initial stage of the disease, the appearance of dark spots on the teeth of the dog and an unpleasant, putrid smell from the mouth. Then, caries are formed, filled with food particles. The dog raises salivation, and there are difficulties with chewing food.
If the destruction reaches the nerve endings, then the animal experiences pain, whines, refuses food, loses weight. When examining the teeth, there is swelling of the gums, redness, painfulness with pressure. The stability of the tooth is lost - it begins to stagger.
Many of these symptoms can be noticed by the owner of the dog on his own. If there are signs of dental caries, you should go to a specialized vet clinic where the doctor, after a visual inspection, will prescribe an X-ray to determine the degree of tooth decay. Based on the data obtained, therapeutic or surgical treatment of the disease is prescribed.
Methods of treatment of caries
With superficial tooth damage, the surface is cleaned and a silver nitrate solution is applied to stop the progression of the pathology. In order to establish how far the process of destruction has gone, the tooth is treated with a special substance that stains the affected tissue.
In case of deep fracture, teeth may need to be filled with cement, plastics or composite materials. The cost of this procedure depends on the clinic, the material used to fill the cavity and the use of anesthesia, which can make a decent amount.
In the case when the tooth can not be saved, it is removed. To prevent the appearance of caries in the pet, it is necessary to follow the preventive measures of the disease.
To exclude the appearance of dental diseases, it is necessary to teach the dog from an early age to carry out hygienic procedures of the oral cavity - cleaning the teeth, removing tartar. Producers of dog food take into account the needs of animals of different ages in mineral additives, develop the size and density of the pieces, depending on the breed. Therefore, the use of high-quality feed helps prevent caries.
In order to ensure a natural process of cleaning teeth from plaque and strengthening the jaws, the dog is given bones and pressed cartilages, which can be purchased at a pet store. The animal should periodically be taken for inspection to the veterinary clinic, especially the representatives of the breeds at risk - decorative dogs, animals with congenital anomalies of the jaws, old and sick animals.
A careful attitude to the condition of the oral cavity in the pet will prevent the appearance of caries or its development at an early stage and will save the animal teeth.