Like humans, dogs and cats have baby teeth, called deciduous teeth, that are replaced by permanent teeth as the puppy and kitten grow and develop. The deciduous teeth begin to erupt around 2 to 3 weeks of age while the permanent adult teeth erupt between 3 to 7 months in dogs and 3 to 6 months in cats. When puppies and kittens lose their baby teeth, you might notice blood on their gum, lip, or tongue. This is normal. You may or may not find little teeth scattered around on the carpet or floors. If your pet swallows them, they will not cause any problems.
There are four types of teeth found in mammals:
Incisors – incisors sit at the front of the mouth and help the animal cut and grasp food
Canines – canines sit behind the incisors and are used to stab and tear food
Premolars – premolars sit behind the canines and are used to grind food
Molars – molars sit at the back of the mouth and are used to grind food
A tooth is divided into two parts – the crown and the root. The crown is the visible part of the tooth outside of the gum, while the root lies within the gumline and anchors the tooth in the mouth.
Normally, as the permanent tooth begins to develop, it will push against the root of the deciduous tooth. The body will then break down the deciduous tooth root until it can no longer be anchored in the mouth and eventually falls out. In some cases, however, the deciduous teeth remain in the mouth even as the permanent teeth come in. This is called persistent deciduous teeth and requires the surgical removal of the remaining deciduous teeth (see photo below).
While extraction of persistent deciduous teeth can be tricky due to their long roots, it is important to remove the retained teeth as soon you or your veterinarian notices them as they can cause the permanent teeth to become misaligned or displaced in the mouth, leading to future dental problems and an increased risk for periodontal disease. The teeth typically affected are incisors and canines and are usually seen in small, toy breed dogs. The dental x-ray above shows a Maltese with retained incisors and canine teeth. The photo of the extracted teeth below shows the roots that did not dissolve. The third photo shows the puppy’s perfect smile after removal of the retained deciduous teeth.
As much as we’d like to include our furry family members in our Thanksgiving celebration, the menu selection for pets can be tricky. Even a small amount of turkey skin can lead to a life-threatening condition called pancreatitis, and many other Thanksgiving staples are poisonous to pets.
Here is a list of Thanksgiving foods to keep away from animal companions — and a few you can share. Keep in mind that even “safe” foods can be dangerous if you feed too much.
If your pet likes to scavenge, be sure to clean up leftovers as soon as your meal is over, and keep trash cans tightly covered. If you’re having guests over, make sure they know not to feed table scraps to your pets — no matter how much they beg!
Foods that are NOT safe for pets:
Turkey Skin & Drippings
Salt & Seasonings
Onions & Garlic
Chives & Leeks
Corn on the Cob
Foods that are SAFE for pets in small amounts*
Turkey (boneless, skinless, unseasoned white meat)
Green Beans (unseasoned)
Mashed Potatoes (plain, cooked & unseasoned)
Sweet Potatoes (plain, cooked, & unseasoned)
Apple (2 or 3 slices, no seeds)
* Even “safe” foods are dangerous if you feed too much, so limit portions to about a spoonful of each.
After spending an entire summer with the whole family together, your dog or cat may be affected by the abrupt change in routine once your kids go back to school. Not only will they have to deal with a new schedule, but there are safety concerns to take into consideration for pets at home alone. Here are some tips for a smooth, back-to-school transition for your pet.
Coccidia are singled-celled organisms (protozoa) that can infect animals, leading to diarrhea and occasionally blood in the stool. Infection is common in both dogs and cats but typically does not cause illness. As a matter of fact, almost all cats will be infected with coccidia at least once in their life. While it is uncommon for signs of illness to occur, puppies, kittens, and immunocompromised pets are most at risk for coccidiosis, the disease caused by coccidia that can make the animal very sick.
Infection occurs when an animal accidentally ingests coccidia shed through the feces of an infected animal. Oftentimes, coccidia is transmitted through contact with a contaminated object or environment, such as water or soil that have been tainted with feces. Different species of coccidia infect different animals. From what we know, species that infect dogs do not infect cats and vice versa. One particular coccidia species that is common in cats, Toxoplasma gondii, is dangerous for humans, particularly pregnant individuals, as it can cause Toxoplasmosis.
Giardia are single-celled organisms (protozoa) that can infect both people and pets, such as dogs, cats, and even chinchillas. Giardiasis (the disease caused by Giardia) can lead to diarrhea and occasionally blood in the stool and vomiting. Giardia live in the small intestine and have two lifecycle stages: the first is the cyst stage. These cysts are inactive and shed through feces. Shedding of cysts can last days or even weeks. Once the cysts are ingested by a host, they mature and multiply in the small intestine. These mature parasites go on to produce cysts and the cycle is repeated.
Infection occurs when an animal or person accidentally ingests the cysts shed through the feces of an infected animal. Oftentimes, Giardia is transmitted through contact with a contaminated object or environment, such as water or soil that have been tainted with feces. Different species of Giardia infect different animals. From what we know, species that infect dogs do not infect cats and vice versa. It is also quite rare for the dog species to infect humans.