You should already know that periodontal disease can be a problem for humans, but you might not know that it can also be an issue for cats. In fact, it's one of the most common medical conditions cats suffer from. Unfortunately, it tends to start early and proceed steadily, so many owners who don't schedule regular checks can end up missing it.
If your cat does develop periodontal disease, it's vital that you can recognize the signs and get them to a pet dentistry expert as soon as possible. With that in mind, here are just four common symptoms.
1. Bad Breath
Your cat's breath probably never smells like a bunch of roses, but you should pay attention when it really starts to smell bad. Periodontal disease develops when plaque and tartar build up on the tooth and then spread below the gumline. The bacteria and decay this can create leads to seriously bad breath. Even if bad breath isn't caused by periodontal disease, it's still a sign your kitty needs to see a vet.
2. Less Interest in Eating
Cats can sometimes be a little finicky about what they eat, but most settle into a good routine that involves meowing right in your face should you put down the dinner dish even a couple of minutes behind schedule. However, your cat may suddenly show less interest in food if they're suffering from periodontal disease. They may approach the bowl as if hungry and then seem reluctant to eat, or they may chew slowly as if they're in pain.
3. Redness or Bleeding
Whenever your cat yawns at you or otherwise gives you a look inside its mouth, take the time to check for any redness or signs of bleeding along the gumline. Bleeding and redness are most likely after your cat has been eating, especially if they enjoy hard food. In some cases, you'll even be able to see pus around the gumline, which is a sign of advanced periodontal disease.
4. Receding Gums
Checking your cat for receding gums is probably something you don't want to do, and your cat will be more reticent than ever if they're experiencing the pain associated with periodontal disease. However, it's a good thing to do if you have any concerns, so check to see if the gums seem to be pulling back from the teeth. One of the easiest ways to tell is to see if there's a line where the tooth is whiter than the rest just above the gumline.