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The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) is reminding people to make a sure they follow through on annual dental check-ups - for their pets.

August is AVA Pet Dental Health Month so the push is on to make sure your animal's oral health is not something that has 'gone to the dogs'.

"Oral care is important to provide the best possible health and quality of life for your pet," said Dr Tony Caiafa, President of the Australian Veterinary Dental Society (AVDS), a special interest group of the AVA.

"Pets can have very similar problems to people such as gingivitis (swollen gums), mouth ulcers and broken teeth, all of which may make eating and playing quite painful.

"Bacteria can also cause bad breath and this is often the first sign that may alert you to your pet's oral problems. In addition, the bacteria which cause gum disease can spread to other parts of the body via the blood stream. This can lead to problems with their liver and kidneys and make them quite ill," Dr Caiafa said.

If your pet develops gum disease it is not too late to start treatment. The AVDS  recommends the three 'D's' of pet oral health. These are:

- dental check up for your pet
- daily tooth brushing
- dental friendly diet.

"Tooth brushing is an effective way of removing plaque and keeping gums healthy. It works for us. Adding flavoured pet toothpaste will make the experience more enjoyable for your pet," Dr Caiafa said.

"Of course, prevention is better than cure. You can start looking after your pet's teeth and gums from the first day they arrive home. Just follow the three 'D's of pet oral health and talk with your vet about looking after your pet's teeth."

AVA Pet Dental Health Month is a nationwide effort to promote the importance of dental care as an essential part of good health for pets.

Australian Veterinary Association

Last Update: 13/08/08 10:23 Views: 10923

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