Yes, your pet’s teeth can affect their kidneys. Periodontal disease is considered the number one condition currently diagnosed in dogs and cats. This oral disease allows for buildup of bacteria and tartar in the pet’s mouth. Bacteria below the gum line enter the bloodstream and become a systemic (whole body) infection. All major organs are affected by systemic infections, commonly leading to disease, damage, and decrease in function. Depending on the severity of the infection, antibiotics may be utilized to resolve the infection, however, dental care is necessary to prevent the problem from reoccurring. Damage done to organs including the heart, liver, and kidneys is typically irreversible and considered to be a serious complication. At home dental care, as well as routine dental prophylaxis, is required to keep health and gums healthy and prevent periodontal disease. Signs of periodontal disease may include bad breath, gingivitis, loose or missing teeth, and/or poor appetite. Depending on their severity, systemic infections may present with signs including fever, lethargy, and decreased appetite and/or vomiting. Other signs can vary depending on the degree with which the organ has been affected. Common signs of complications involving the kidneys include increased thirst, decreased urine output with increased frequency, and dilute urine. Blood may also be present in urine or cause dilute urine to appear dark in color. Owner’s noticing any of these changes in their pet should seek immediate veterinary attention for their four legged friend.
To learn more about how your pet’s dental health can affect their other major organs, please read our other blog entries.
Dr. George Stroberg, DVM and Staff