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Veterinary Forum January 2007 (Vol 24, No 1)

Feline dental disease may be sign of more serious problem

    WESTBROOK, Maine — The American Veterinary Dental Society (AVDS) reports that 70% of cats have some degree of dental disease by 2 years of age and that dental problems are often the first sign of more serious health problems.

    A recent study conducted by veterinary clinics nationwide for IDEXX Laboratories shows that one in seven cats with dental disease also tested positive for FIV or FeLV. This study confirms the importance of regularly testing cats for FIV and FeLV, especially in cats with oral diseases.

    "Providing optimal dental care is one of the best things a cat owner can do to help improve the overall health of their cat," said Jan Bellows, DVM, DAVDC, DABVP. Bellows said that veterinarians should recommend regular dental exams as well as at-home care to maintain dental health for cats.

    Tartar on teeth can cause gum infection and tooth loss, leading to difficulty eating and grooming. In some cases, dental disease can even spread to other organs of the body, causing serious illness to the pet.

    NEXT: Fort Dodge Animal Health receives licensure of avian influenza vaccine

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