ARLINGTON, Wash., Nov. 3, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- An Arlington veterinarian wishes to alert area pet owners of the critical role dentistry can play in their animals' health and wellness. According to Dr. Tim Cavanagh of All Creatures Veterinary Services, a routine combination of home and in-office pet dental care can guard against a variety of serious issues ranging from pain and tooth loss to systemic bacterial infections and oral cancer. "We want to help owners ensure their pets' health and happiness for many years. Regular dental care is a simple yet effective way to do just that," he says.
Dr. Cavanagh warns that disease can infiltrate an animal's teeth, gums and oral cavity in a variety of ways. He cites simple bacteria as the most common threat. "Bacteria like to feed on tartar, a mixture of food remnants and saliva coating the teeth. As the bacteria feed, they venture into the tooth enamel and underneath the gum line into the jawbone, causing tooth decay, tooth loss, abscesses and infections," he says. The veterinarian adds that if the bacteria reach the bloodstream they can move into the heart, brain or other vital organs. Fortunately, he adds, periodic professional evaluations and cleanings can scrape away even the most stubborn tartar buildup before serious problems develop.
"We can also teach owners how to brush their pets' teeth with special toothpastes made for dogs and cats; brushing doesn't replace professional cleanings, but it can provide additional protection against bacteria," says Dr. Cavanagh.
In addition to bacterial issues, the practitioner warns that oral cancer can appear at any time in a pet's life, and once it does it poses a fast-growing, potentially fatal threat. He notes that pet dental evaluations typically include an inspection of the oral cavity as well as the teeth and gums, allowing him to detect, diagnose and remove cancers before they can grow or metastasize.
Dr. Cavanagh encourages pet owners to learn how to inspect their pets' mouths at home from time to time as a means of catching problems even more quickly. He states that foul breath, swollen or bleeding gums, refusal to eat or fear of being touched on the face may indicate an infection or other dental problem that needs immediate attention. Unusual lumps or lesions may or may not indicate cancer, he adds, but they merit a veterinary evaluation as well.
If a dental problem does exist, Dr. Cavanagh and his team may prescribe deep cleanings, antibiotics, surgery (in cases of oral cancer) and/or extraction of a diseased tooth. "Regular evaluations can't catch everything, but they're a great start toward minimizing the need for extractions or other such procedures," says the veterinarian.
In addition to pet dental care, All Creatures Veterinary Services provides spay and neuter surgery, vaccinations, orthopedic surgery, nutritional counseling and other forms of care for Arlington pets.
CONTACT: All Creatures Veterinary Services 888-667-5235Source: All Creatures Veterinary Services