Unfortunately, most pets have bad breath, and this is not normal. If this is the case, your pet most likely has an infection in their mouth. The most common cause of infection in your pet’s mouth is periodontal disease, which affects over 75% of pets over 2 years of age. Periodontal disease is a progressive disease that causes irreversible loss of the structures surrounding the teeth (see image A). When your pet eats, residual food particles in the mouth promote growth of bacteria that results in plaque buildup. (see image B). Periodontal disease is graded by severity.
The first step in treating periodontal disease requires cleaning the teeth and surrounding tissues. Because your pet will not lie down quietly for a dental cleaning, general anesthesia is required. Rest assured, your pet will be monitored closely throughout the entire procedure. After the teeth are cleaned, X-rays will be taken of the teeth to check for pathology hiding below the gum line (see image C).