Daily Express

My cat’s teeth are in very poor shape

- OUR VET DAVID GRANT WORKS HIS MAGIC ● David Grant MBE was a vet at RSPCA Harmsworth Hospital for Animals. Write to him at Daily Express, One Canada Square, CanaryWhar­f, London E14 5AP or email pampered pets@express.co.uk. He is unable to enter into indivi

QMY 10-year-old Siamese cat eats quite well without obvious pain, but when he yawned recently his teeth looked in poor shape. Do cats need dental check-ups and how often?

AIT is likely your cat would benefit from a veterinary examinatio­n. Dental disease is a problem that vets look for and treat at annual health checks, which I am strongly in favour of.

Figures vary but it is thought that 50-to-90 per cent of old cats suffer from it, with diet and the inability of many owners to brush their cats’ teeth the most probable causes.

The earliest indication of problems is gingivitis, an inflammati­on of the gums.This is caused by the cat’s immune system responding to bacterial infection. Untreated plaque soon develops and this can lead to tartar developing.

Ideally a vet will remove plaque and tartar and clean the teeth during a check-up. If this doesn’t occur, then the next stage is periodonti­tis.

This causes destructio­n of the tissue underneath the gum line and ultimately leads to tooth resorption with a breakdown of the entire tooth structure.

At this stage teeth start to fall out. Dental disease is painful and can stop the cat eating, leading to a host of other issues. So prompt interventi­on is best. Most cats will benefit from dental treatment under anaesthesi­a. Once the gums are healed your vet can advise on preventati­ve measures.

QMY two-year-old terrier cross has developed circular bald patches all over his sides and face. My vet has sent off samples to check for ringworm, although she thinks the problem could also be bacterial. Can dogs get ringworm?

AYOUR vet has done the right thing, as ringworm can look exactly like a bacterial infection called pyoderma.

It’s important to be sure of the diagnosis, as the treatment for each is different. Dogs certainly can get ringworm but it is far less common than pyoderma, so with luck the samples will come back negative. Ringworm is a fungal disease and the cases I have seen in dogs have tended to be puppies or younger dogs. There are several types depending on the source of the infection, which can include cats, soil, rodents and hedgehogs. Most of the hedgehog cases I have seen have occurred in Jack Russell terriers due to their tendency to play with them.

Caught early, dogs with this condition have a good prognosis, as modern treatments are very effective.

More advanced cases can be more difficult due to the lengthy treatment required.

I agree with your vet’s suspicions – your dog could be a pyoderma case, and she may want to do further tests. These days we try to treat bacterial infection with antibacter­ial shampoos rather than antibiotic­s, as they are equally effective.

 ?? Pictures: GETTY ?? TOOTH HURTS: Vets look for dental disease at annual health checks
Pictures: GETTY TOOTH HURTS: Vets look for dental disease at annual health checks
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