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Vanquish the Hostile Takeover of Canine Halitosis

Vanquish the Hostile Takeover of Canine Halitosis

Image: Pixabay

Getting up-close-and-personal is your furry friend’s way of showing their unconditional love and affection for you and the last thing you want is to shy away from them just because they have a disagreeable breath. You may think it insignificant, but halitosis could be the culprit for this unpleasant odour and should be investigated promptly.

Causes

Halitosis is the condition of accumulated odour-producing bacteria in the mouth which results in bad breath.

Periodontal disease (gum or dental disease) is most notably responsible for our canine companion’s bad breath and this occurs most frequently in smaller dogs who are particularly susceptible to plaque and tartar.

Breath that remains unrelentingly offensive could be an indication of something more serious than just a need for a professional dental clean. Halitosis can be a red flag for problems associated with severe medical issues in the mouth, liver, kidneys, respiratory system, inflammation of the throat, tonsillitis, gastrointestinal tract or even metabolic disorders such as diabetes mellitus. Cancer or foreign matter in the body can also play a role in producing bad breath as they result in disease.

Bacterial, fungal and viral infections within the body can be responsible for emitting foul odours, as can dietary-related problems. Consider that when your hungry hound eats foods that have naturally offensive odours, their breath will automatically smell bad. Some pooches display behaviour known as coprophagia, where they eat faeces and will, similarly, have the same foul-smelling breath thereof.

Trauma associated with an electric cord injury may also be a possible cause of halitosis.

Symptoms

  • If there is no indication of critical issues, the offensive smell may be the solitary symptom of halitosis.
  • If a disease in the mouth is the cause, the following symptoms could appear:
  • Pawing at the mouth
  • Severely reduced appetite
  • Losing teeth
  • Drooling excessively which could have traces of blood therein
  • A peculiar sweet and fruity-smelling breath, could be a potential warning for diabetes, especially if your pup is consuming water and urinating more than usual.
  • An ammonia-like or urine-smelling breath could be indicative of kidney disease.
  • Liver problems could be the trigger when the following symptoms are displayed:
    • Foul smelling breath
    • Vomiting
    • Severely reduced appetite
    • Yellow-shaded corneas or gums

Treatment

Treatment will vary according to what’s causing the halitosis. If halitosis is brought about by periodontal disease, a dental cleaning procedure is likely to be scheduled as your pup may lose some teeth if the procedure is delayed. A professional dental clean involves scaling your dog’s teeth to eliminate any plaque or tartar accumulation along with polishing those pearly whites. Teeth appearing to have above 50 percent chance of losing the supporting gum and bone may have to be extracted. Your furry pal will undergo general anaesthesia during the clean so ensure they fast the night before and chat to your vet about any concerns you may have with regards to having them endure anaesthesia. Your veterinarian may thereafter, prescribe medication that regulates the bacteria production in the mouth, enabling a reduction in the associated odour.

If your pooch’s halitosis is triggered by something other than periodontal disease, physical examinations will have to be conducted by your veterinarian to establish whether the root cause could be attributable to a condition such as diabetes, liver, digestive or kidney problems. The subsequent treatment plan will then depend on the identified cause thereof.

Don’t hesitate to visit your veterinarian as soon as you discover any suspicious symptoms relating to halitosis so to discount any chance of them developing into critical health issues down the line. 

Prevention

Why allow your furry pal to endure the unpleasantries or dangers of halitosis when you can take the initiative in preventing it in the first place?

  • Schedule regular veterinarian checkups to be made aware of or prevent any imminent medical issues that could be triggering halitosis.
  • Ensure that both you and your vet actively monitor the condition of your dog’s teeth and breath.
  • Ensure your pup is well nourished with a high-quality diet that is easily digestible.
  • Feed your pooch specially formulated treats that reduce bad breath and tartar.
  • Brush your fur ball’s pearly whites weekly, if not daily. Use a vet-recommended toothpaste especially formulated for dogs because cat or human toothpastes can cause upset stomachs in canines.
  • Allow your dog’s teeth to be cleaned naturally, by giving them safe and tough chew toys to gnaw on.
  • There is a plethora of oral products on the market so chat to your veterinarian about the most appropriate ones for your special canine companion.

Interesting Fact
Dog breeds with flat-faced, short-nosed characteristics, also known as brachycephalic breeds, such as Boston Terriers, Pugs, Pekingese, are more inclined to periodontal diseases and conditions associated with the mouth since their little teeth are set so closely together

Written for inFURmation
by Taliah Williamson

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Disclaimer: The information produced by Infurmation is provided for general and educational purposes only and does not constitute any legal, medical or other professional advice on any subject matter. These statements are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. Always seek the advice of your vet or other qualified health care provider prior to starting any new diet or treatment and with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you suspect that your pet has a medical problem, promptly contact your health care provider.

Taking Feline Diabetes Down

Feline diabetes

Diabetes mellitus is being found in a startling number of cats and if left untreated, the consequences can be fatal. It’s essential to be attentive of the signs potentially suggesting the presence of this condition so you can give your cat the best possible treatment at a chance of a quality life.

What is diabetes mellitus?

In a healthy cat, sugar in the form of glucose, is required by the body for energy. The pancreas produces the hormone, insulin, which attaches to cells and indicates when to absorb glucose. This absorption provides essential fuel to the liver, muscles and cells in fat deposits, simultaneously reducing the glucose levels in the blood. Diabetes mellitus is a disease in which some feline bodies are unable to produce or respond to the hormone insulin, thereby causing a dangerous surge in sugar glucose levels.

Type I diabetes is when the pancreas is unable to produce sufficient levels of insulin, resulting in higher concentrations of glucose. Type II diabetes is caused by the body’s cells’ inefficiency to respond properly to insulin. Cats with diabetes typically suffer from Type II.

Clinical Signs

  • Weight loss irrespective of increased appetite
  • Excessive thirst and urination, thereby causing a possibility of dehydration
  • In neglected cases, nerve damage to the hind limbs may occur
  • Depression
  • Coma
  • Death

Diagnosis

Your vet will not only enquire about potential symptoms your cat maybe experiencing, as mentioned above, but they will need to test blood and urine to establish the glucose concentrations therein. Although these symptoms could signal your kitty has diabetes, they may also be the result of several other diseases.

Blood tests to diagnosis diabetes are not always clear-cut because even healthy cats may display elevated glucose levels in their blood, resulting from stress onset by a veterinarian visit, otherwise known as hyperglycemia. Therefore, healthy cats that don’t have diabetes, may have temporary heightened blood glucose concentrations when tested by a vet. To avoid this misconception, veterinarians will alternatively measure the levels of fructosamine in the blood. Cats with acute diabetes will show increased levels of fructosamine which is assumed not to be considerably influenced by stress levels. Fructosamine levels are therefore, accurate in ascertaining the valid blood glucose measures, thereby establishing an accurate diagnosis of diabetes in cats.

Treatment

Treatment of cats with diabetes aims to:

  • Reduce and/or prevent any further weight loss
  • Reduce and/or prevent any further indications of excess thirst and urination
  • Regulate appetite
  • Re-establish blood glucose to normal levels

Insulin Therapy

Diabetic cats are typically treated with injectable insulin and owners can learn to execute the procedure at home. With practice, owners and cats will feel more at ease with the process. Insulin preparations vary in terms of duration and the outcomes associated with fluctuations of blood glucose. Your vet will periodically administer insulin over a duration of between 12 – 24 hours, as a control to determine the type of insulin and dosage rate that ideally manages your cat’s particular blood glucose concentrations.

Diet

Low carbohydrate diets have proven to control blood glucose concentrations in the body. If your cat is underweight, because of the diabetes, ensure to feed them numerous meals a day or allow them unlimited access to their food, both day and night. On the other end of the spectrum, ask your vet to prescribe a diet suitable for an overweight cat which will likely assist their bodies in maintaining more balanced glucose levels.

Management and Monitoring

Although there is no cure for feline diabetes, it can be managed if the owner is well-informed and dedicated to treating the condition. If the disease is treated with commitment, a cat can live a high-quality life for an extended number of years. In some cases, cats may go into remission, no longer depending on insulin treatments. However, owners should still be consistently vigilant of any clinical symptoms of diabetes and maintain a low carbohydrate diet.

Parents of diabetic cats should closely watch their purry pal’s appetite, body weight, water consumption, urination frequency, the quantity of insulin given as well as blood or urine glucose levels. All this information should be recorded and conveyed to your veterinarian on a regular basis. Weakness, lethargy, tremors, seizures and vomiting are signs of hypoglycaemia. In such cases, a glucose solution, dextrose gel or honey should be smeared onto your kitty’s gums followed by an immediate consult with your veterinarian.

As daunting as feline diabetes appears, it really is manageable, and your cat can still live a long, high quality life. With some research and education from reputable sources; commitment to administering the necessary treatments and keeping a watchful eye on your kitty, you’ll be able to take feline diabetes down!

Written for inFURmation
by Taliah Williamson