Dental care – Mum, Dad, my mouth hurts

Like people, cats may suffer from dental problems. Here’s some basic info:

Diseases of the oral cavity would not be expected in young, immunocompetent cats and dogs. In today’s veterinary practice it is not uncommon to see red, inflamed oral mucous membranes (gingivitis) in cats as young as three years of age. What’s wrong with modern pet health care? More importantly, what can we do to prevent this disease?

We see several factors that predispose cats to gingivitis: processed food; sugars and refined carbohydrates; immune dysfunction and allergies. Tooth malocclusion, persistent viral infection, and acidifying diets also play a role in dental disease.

By far the most common cause of unhealthy gums is poor nutrition. Most domestic cats are not fed fresh, raw ingredients. Instead, commercial pet foods contain too much salt, too much saturated fat, too much wheat and cornmeal, too little effective fiber, and are certainly not fresh. Access to fresh foods, especially vegetables, is sorely needed by most house cats.

Second, domestic cats receive an excessive number and frequency of vaccinations. The vaccines themselves are a modern disease challenge that cats and dogs have only been exposed to in the past 40 years. Are vaccine agents so benign that they can be administered as a group of three or more viral agents on the same day (a large antigenic load by any measure) every year with no ill effects? Or is the experience of most holistic veterinarians true that the more vaccinations given to a pet, the less likely they are to be healthy?
(source: Dieases of modern living: Gingivitis in cats. Read on for prevention and also pictures)

More reference readings:

(Created: 13 Dec 2006)


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