Oral pathology in dog and cat: overview of selected problems

01 February 2014
14 mins read
Volume 5 · Issue 1


Oral pathology is exceedingly common in small animal patients. This review describes a numer of selected diseases that are seen on daily oral assessment in every veterinary practice. Depending on the condition, a short summary is included of etiology, pathogenesis, clinical features, differential diagnoses, diagnostic tests, and if possible treatment/management. Persistent deciduous teeth, supernumerary teeth, intrinsically stained teeth, fractured teeth, abscessed teeth, luxated and avulsed teeth, feline tooth resorption, ‘missing’ teeth, oral neoplasia, caudal stomatitis, juvenile gingivitis and immune-mediated diseases are all discussed.

Dental disease is the number one clinical problem seen in small animal practice, and thus oral pathology is exceedingly common in small animal patients (Lund et al, 1999). In addition, there is a very wide variety of pathologies that are encountered within the oral cavity. These conditions often cause significant pain and/or localised, regional and systemic infection (Niemiec, 2008). This text is a quick reference for veterinary nurses to identify the common oral pathologies seen in the dog and cat.

The only way to reveal oral pathology is through a thorough examination. An oral examination should always begin in a conscious patient (Wiggs, 1997; Gorrel, 2008). If the patient (due to aggression or impatience) does not allow a thorough visible inspection, the next step is sedation. The position of evaluator should be comfortable. Appropriate lighting, close access to the head, and ideally an assistant who records the findings will improve the quality of the examination. In addition, an assistant is a significant asset in the photographic evaluation of the patient (Bellows, 2004). At this stage of examination particular attention is paid to the occlusion (head symmetry, number of the teeth, and their relationship), dentition and dental deposits are carefully measured and recorded, and regional lymph nodes palpated.

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