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Much attention is paid to the dental health of dogs and cats, and it should be. Canine dental disease is the most common medical condition treated by veterinarians, and the most preventable. But what about our exotic pets, are they also at risk for dental disease? The answer is yes, any animal with teeth can develop dental disease. A buildup of bacteria in the mouth causes plaque to accumulate around the gum and can result in infection, tooth loss and even damage to surrounding bone tissue.

Some dental problems are specific to small animals. For example, because their teeth grow continuously, rabbits are at risk for abscesses caused by tooth misalignment. Chinchillas and Guinea pigs frequently suffer from painful tooth-root impactions. Even reptiles may need an occasional cleaning to prevent infection. All pets should receive annual or bi-annual wellness examinations, but for exotic pets, good dental health may depend even more heavily on veterinary exams. The common signs of periodontal disease can be extremely difficult for a pet owner to spot in a small or exotic animal:

  • Bad breath
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Depression
  • Drooling
  • Eye discharge
  • Facial swelling
  • Rubbing or pawing the face
  • Swollen/red gums
  • Tartar buildup at the gum line

Treating Dental Disease

At Paws and Claws Pet Medical Center our goal is to help your pet live a long, happy life. Dental disease can lead to serious health risks that decrease the life span of your exotic and small pets – some of which already have a limited time to share with you. In addition to causing your pet extreme pain, periodontal disease can affect the heart and other organs, and can sometimes result in death. Treating dental disease in small and exotic pets may not only extend their lives, but will increase their quality of life.

We’re proud to provide a complete range of dental services for all your pets. With specialized instruments designed especially for your unique companion, our veterinarians can help prevent disease by keeping teeth trimmed and cleaned. If necessary, we can also perform dental surgery to treat infected, abscessed, impacted or overgrown teeth.

At Paws and Claws we provide the same level of care for all our patients. Your small pet will be monitored before, during, and after surgery to ensure its safety. Pain medication is administered to make the recovery process as gentle as possible. In most cases, your pet will be ready to return home the same day as their surgery.

Small pets don't always mean small vet bills. It's only natural for a pet owner to be concerned about the costs involved with any surgery. Our friendly staff will review the process and costs of all dental procedures with you before an appointment is scheduled. We can also help you apply for pet medical insurance or the CareCredit program.

Please call our office with your questions about exotic- and small-pet dental care.