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Why Are My Pet’s Gums Red?

The most common cause of red gums in our pets is gingivitis. Along with redness, you may also notice swelling (sometimes serve) and even bleeding along the gumline which means its time to book an appointment with your family veterinarian.

Gingivitis is caused when a film or layer of bacteria or plaque builds up on the teeth and under the gumline. If left untreated gingivitis progresses into periodontitis which is one of the most common diseases we see in our pets. The best defense against gingivitis in our pets is regular brushing, using a dental diet and annual oral health exams with your veterinarian.

Unfortunately gum disease in our pets can go unnoticed until advanced decay and rot have set in. Early gum disease is “silent” with no obvious signs or symptoms. Waiting until your pet shows signs or symptoms of gum disease often means costly dental procedures and oral surgery. This is why regular annual health exams are key.

Advanced stages of gum disease include pain, eroded gums, missing teeth, bone loss and poor overall health.

Signs to watch for include:

  1. Chronic pain – pawing at face, rubbing muzzle along furniture/carpet.
  2. Change in behavior – irritable, snappy, isolating themselves, not wanting to be touched.
  3. Foul Breath/drooling – sometimes there is blood in the saliva
  4. Chewing on one side of the mouth – Often you’ll notice an unusual amount of kibble dropped on the ground outside of their dish.
  5. Inappetence – they are just too painful to eat
  6. Tarter – large amounts of hardened plaque built up on the teeth.
  7. Sores/swelling of the face – often associated with tooth root abscesses which can cause open, oozing sores under the eye, on the cheeks and muzzle.

If you are concerned your pet may be suffering from signs of gum disease or notice red gums the best treatment is to book a consult with your family veterinarian.

Written by: Van Isle Veterinary Hospital

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