“I’ve had Feline Odontoclastic Resorptive Lesions but I still have my ‘fangs’ and they still work!”

“I’ve had Feline Odontoclastic Resorptive Lesions but I still have my ‘fangs’ and they still work!”

One of the nice things about February, in addition to Valentine’s Day and the beginning of spring training, is the attention Pet Dental Health Month generates about dental health in animals. Even if you’re not an animal health person or in the companion animal segment, you probably have some critters of your own.

This month there will be plenty of good information from many sources to raise awareness among pet owners, and it’s an opportunity for everyone in the animal health industry to focus on a major challenge.

Here’s a reminder of just how big an issue dental health in pets is:

  • According to Banfield Pet Hospital 2013 data, dental disease was the most common disease in dogs and cats, affecting 91% of dogs and 85% of cats over the age of 3.1
  • In a 2013 pet owner survey, dental disease was the most common disease in pets, affecting 78% of dogs and 68% of cats >3 years old.2
  • In 2014, Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI), now a division of Nationwide, policyholders spent more than $12.2 million on dental conditions and procedures, the fourth most common type of claim submitted in 2014 and an eight percent increase versus 2013. In addition, VPI reported that periodontal disease treatment accounted for the highest number of claims.3
  • VPI data reported in 2014 indicated that tooth extraction was the number one surgical procedure in cats, at an average cost of $923.65; tooth extraction was the third most common surgical procedure in dogs, with an average cost of $828.66.4

Bottom line? Companion animal dentistry continues to represent opportunities for research and new products and opportunities for veterinarians to educate owners about the importance of dental health in companion animals.

Want More Information?
Check out the January/February issue of NAVC’s journal Today’s Veterinary Practice. It’s one of many sources of info and features several articles about companion animal dental issues.

One addresses feline tooth resorption, aka feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions (FORL), one of the nastiest dental problems in cats.5 You remember cats – they just love to have veterinarians, technicians and owners messing around in the feline oral cavity. Brush your cat’s teeth? How many BAND-AIDs® will you need once you’re done?

The journal also presents Banfield-sourced 2014 stats on prevalence of periodontal disease, stomatitis, resorptive lesions, and eosinophilic granulomas in 10,000 cats by age and reproductive status. 61.5% all cats and >80% of cats > 3 years of age showed evidence of periodontal disease.7

A third article – with an extensive list of references – reviews options currently available for periodontal therapy in companion animals.

1 Banfield Pet Hospital. State of Pet Health 2013.

2 Pet owners unaware of pet dental health importance, survey finds. Petfood Industry. February 18, 2013.

3 February is Pet Dental Health Month. VPI in PR Newswire February 4, 2105.

4 Top 10 pet surgeries: Pet owners pay a hefty price for treatment. 2014.

5 Bellows, Jan. External Tooth Resoprtion in Cats. Part 1: Pathogenesis, Classification, & Diagnosis. Today’s Veterinary Practice, January/February 2015. pp 20-25.

6 Bellows, Jan. Prevalence of Oral Disease. Today’s Veterinary Practice, January/February 2016, p 27.

7 Niemiec, Brook A. Updated Options for Periodontal Therapy. Today’s Veterinary Practice, January/February 2016, pp 85-96.