A practice in the north-east is taking a stand against canine gum disease by offering half-price dental treatments.

With studies showing that 80 per cent of dogs show signs of gum disease by the age of three, Prince Bishop Veterinary Hospital, in Leadgate near Consett, County Durham, is offering half-price scale and polish treatments.

The practice said it was finding that cases of poor oral hygiene, leading to emergency extractions, were escalating, and staff felt dental care was currently one of the most neglected pet health needs – particularly in the credit crunch times.

Periodontal – or severe gum disease – is common in older dogs and causes bad breath, and often serious infections. Periodontitis and other gum diseases have now been linked in humans to conditions such as diabetes, immune problems, anaemia, respiratory disease, liver and cholesterol problems and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as stroke and heart disease. There is anecdotal evidence to suggest that the link is as strong in animals.

Jacqui Molyneux, the practice’s principal vet, said: “Periodontal disease is the most frequent problem in small animal veterinary practices such as ours. In severe cases, and when regular tooth brushing is not maintained, either selective or total extraction will be required.

“I cannot stress enough the need for preventive dental care, as aside from ensuring that the animal does not suffer unnecessarily, and has a shortened life expectancy, it will save the owner money in the longer term.”

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