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The oral cavity of the dog and cat

3 March 2023

Muzzle… or mouth?

A dog has a mouth, and a cat has a mouth! The difference between the two ? Their capacity to open. When open, the mouth of a cat is more of a slit than the mouth of the dog, and less teeth are visible.

 

How many teeth does my cat or dog have ?

Just like humans, our pets have 2 generations of teeth: the deciduous – or baby – teeth and the permanent teeth.

 

The deciduous teeth appear at around 3 weeks of age. There are 26 deciduous teeth in kittens and 28 in puppies, distributed as follows :

 

  • 12 incisors – 6 in the upper jaw and 6 in the lower jaw;
  • 4 canines – 2 in the upper jaw and 2 in the lower jaw;
  • 10 or 12 premolars, depending on the species – 6 in the upper jaw and 4 or 6 in the lower jaw.

These will gradually fall out from 3 to 4 months of age to make way for the final set of teeth, which will be completed at 6-7 months. For some breeds, such as the Chihuahua, this takes longer.

In adults, the number of teeth increases to 30 in cats and 42 in dogs:

  • 12 incisors – 6 in the upper jaw and 6 in the lower jaw;
  • 4 canines – 2 in the upper jaw and 2 in the lower jaw;
  • 10 or 16 premolars, depending on the species – 6 or 8 in the upper jaw and 4 or 8 in the lower jaw;
  • 4 or 10 molars, depending on the species – 2 or 4 in the upper jaw and 2 or 6 in the lower jaw.

These teeth have different shapes and therefore different functions.

 

What exactly is a tooth ?

A tooth is mostly made up of dentin – a hard structure formed by specific cells called odontoblasts. It consists of 3 distinct layers:

 

  • Primary dentin, which is formed during the development of the tooth;
  • Secondary dentin, which is deposited on top once the root of the tooth is formed, and is a sign of normal tooth ageing;
  • Tertiary dentin, which is formed during the repair process.

At the heart of this dentin is the dental pulp. This contains nerves, various vessels, connective tissue and odontoblasts.

 

The exposed part of the tooth is covered with enamel. This very hard tissue is formed by cells – the ameloblasts – only before the tooth emerges. In our four-legged friends, the thickness of the enamel varies between 0.1 mm and 1 mm.

 

The root, the non-visible part of the tooth, is covered by a bone-like tissue called cementum.

 

The tooth is supported by the periodontium, which includes the gum, cementum, alveolar bone and the periodontal ligament. The periodontal ligament surrounds the entire buried part of the tooth and is attached to the cementum – the tooth side – and the alveolar bone. It keeps the tooth in the socket.

Finally, the area between the tooth and the gum is called the gum line. The depth of this groove varies – physiologically – between 0 and 1 mm in cats and 0 and 3 mm in dogs.

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How How could I monitor the progress of osteoarthritis of my dog?

How How could I monitor the progress of osteoarthritis of my dog?

Your dog is less energetic than before, and your vet has told you about osteoarthritis. He will probably have stressed the importance of maintaining a healthy weight, keeping physically active and supplementing your pet's diet with chondroprotectors or essential fatty acids. Your dog may have been having a painful episode at the time of diagnosis, so your vet will almost certainly have prescribed pain relief for a few days. Now you'd like to know how your pet will progress and what to look out for. It's important to remember that osteoarthritis is a non-reversible disease that progresses in painful attacks. The aim of treatment is therefore to slow its progression and maintain your pet's quality of life and comfort, by limiting the consequences of cartilage degeneration. In order to space out the various painful episodes as much as possible, you will need to pay close attention to your dog's behaviour on a daily basis. Is he eating as usual? Does he seem to have difficulty getting up, jumping into the car or climbing the stairs? Does he limp? Does he lick himself in a particular place (check in particular the joint affected by osteoarthritis)? Does he look anxious, sad or fearful? Has he become easily irritated? To keep your pet in good health, we recommend that you take part in moderate daily exercise. Ideally, you should take your pet for 2 x 30-minute walks every day. Don't hesitate to write down the length of your outings and the routes taken in a notebook. Even easier, use your smartphone: there are even applications specifically developed to track your walks! As well as keeping track of the duration and intensity of your walks, it's a good idea to add some additional information, such as :
  • Did you keep the lead on throughout the walk? If so, did he pull or stay on the lead? If not, did he run? This information should be related to the dog's usual behaviour.
  • Who stopped the activity?
  • For the same amount of effort, do you think he had more difficulty recovering after this session?
Check regularly with your vet, even if there is no painful crisis. Low-level inflammation is always present, without necessarily causing discomfort. This is why omega-3 essential
fatty acids can be used continuously: they help to modulate this inflammation and limit inflammatory flare-ups. In the same way, it is always preferable not to let pain take hold, in which case it is more difficult to manage. To this end, the CAPdouleur network has developed an eponymous application, CAPdouleur, CSOM, which enables pet owners and their vets to share pain assessments. If your vet is a member of the CAPdouleur network and considers it necessary, he or she can suggest that you use this tool. You can then work together to devise the most appropriate assessment grid for your 4-legged friend. With this application, you can monitor your pet's pain score on a daily basis and in its familiar environment. The scores are synchronised and sent to your vet so you can adjust the treatment protocol as soon as possible. You can already download the CAPdouleur application and fill in the pain assessment questionnaire, which is freely available. This will give you an initial indication of whether or not your dog is suffering from pain, which you can then present to your vet.
How How could I monitor the progress of osteoarthritis of my dog?

How How could I monitor the progress of osteoarthritis of my dog?

Your dog is less energetic than before, and your vet has told you about osteoarthritis. He will probably have stressed the importance of maintaining a healthy weight, keeping physically active and supplementing your pet's diet with chondroprotectors or essential fatty acids. Your dog may have been having a painful episode at the time of diagnosis, so your vet will almost certainly have prescribed pain relief for a few days. Now you'd like to know how your pet will progress and what to look out for. It's important to remember that osteoarthritis is a non-reversible disease that progresses in painful attacks. The aim of treatment is therefore to slow its progression and maintain your pet's quality of life and comfort, by limiting the consequences of cartilage degeneration. In order to space out the various painful episodes as much as possible, you will need to pay close attention to your dog's behaviour on a daily basis. Is he eating as usual? Does he seem to have difficulty getting up, jumping into the car or climbing the stairs? Does he limp? Does he lick himself in a particular place (check in particular the joint affected by osteoarthritis)? Does he look anxious, sad or fearful? Has he become easily irritated? To keep your pet in good health, we recommend that you take part in moderate daily exercise. Ideally, you should take your pet for 2 x 30-minute walks every day. Don't hesitate to write down the length of your outings and the routes taken in a notebook. Even easier, use your smartphone: there are even applications specifically developed to track your walks! As well as keeping track of the duration and intensity of your walks, it's a good idea to add some additional information, such as :
  • Did you keep the lead on throughout the walk? If so, did he pull or stay on the lead? If not, did he run? This information should be related to the dog's usual behaviour.
  • Who stopped the activity?
  • For the same amount of effort, do you think he had more difficulty recovering after this session?
Check regularly with your vet, even if there is no painful crisis. Low-level inflammation is always present, without necessarily causing discomfort. This is why omega-3 essential
fatty acids can be used continuously: they help to modulate this inflammation and limit inflammatory flare-ups. In the same way, it is always preferable not to let pain take hold, in which case it is more difficult to manage. To this end, the CAPdouleur network has developed an eponymous application, CAPdouleur, CSOM, which enables pet owners and their vets to share pain assessments. If your vet is a member of the CAPdouleur network and considers it necessary, he or she can suggest that you use this tool. You can then work together to devise the most appropriate assessment grid for your 4-legged friend. With this application, you can monitor your pet's pain score on a daily basis and in its familiar environment. The scores are synchronised and sent to your vet so you can adjust the treatment protocol as soon as possible. You can already download the CAPdouleur application and fill in the pain assessment questionnaire, which is freely available. This will give you an initial indication of whether or not your dog is suffering from pain, which you can then present to your vet.
How How could I monitor the progress of osteoarthritis of my dog?

How How could I monitor the progress of osteoarthritis of my dog?

Your dog is less energetic than before, and your vet has told you about osteoarthritis. He will probably have stressed the importance of maintaining a healthy weight, keeping physically active and supplementing your pet's diet with chondroprotectors or essential fatty acids. Your dog may have been having a painful episode at the time of diagnosis, so your vet will almost certainly have prescribed pain relief for a few days. Now you'd like to know how your pet will progress and what to look out for. It's important to remember that osteoarthritis is a non-reversible disease that progresses in painful attacks. The aim of treatment is therefore to slow its progression and maintain your pet's quality of life and comfort, by limiting the consequences of cartilage degeneration. In order to space out the various painful episodes as much as possible, you will need to pay close attention to your dog's behaviour on a daily basis. Is he eating as usual? Does he seem to have difficulty getting up, jumping into the car or climbing the stairs? Does he limp? Does he lick himself in a particular place (check in particular the joint affected by osteoarthritis)? Does he look anxious, sad or fearful? Has he become easily irritated? To keep your pet in good health, we recommend that you take part in moderate daily exercise. Ideally, you should take your pet for 2 x 30-minute walks every day. Don't hesitate to write down the length of your outings and the routes taken in a notebook. Even easier, use your smartphone: there are even applications specifically developed to track your walks! As well as keeping track of the duration and intensity of your walks, it's a good idea to add some additional information, such as :
  • Did you keep the lead on throughout the walk? If so, did he pull or stay on the lead? If not, did he run? This information should be related to the dog's usual behaviour.
  • Who stopped the activity?
  • For the same amount of effort, do you think he had more difficulty recovering after this session?
Check regularly with your vet, even if there is no painful crisis. Low-level inflammation is always present, without necessarily causing discomfort. This is why omega-3 essential
fatty acids can be used continuously: they help to modulate this inflammation and limit inflammatory flare-ups. In the same way, it is always preferable not to let pain take hold, in which case it is more difficult to manage. To this end, the CAPdouleur network has developed an eponymous application, CAPdouleur, CSOM, which enables pet owners and their vets to share pain assessments. If your vet is a member of the CAPdouleur network and considers it necessary, he or she can suggest that you use this tool. You can then work together to devise the most appropriate assessment grid for your 4-legged friend. With this application, you can monitor your pet's pain score on a daily basis and in its familiar environment. The scores are synchronised and sent to your vet so you can adjust the treatment protocol as soon as possible. You can already download the CAPdouleur application and fill in the pain assessment questionnaire, which is freely available. This will give you an initial indication of whether or not your dog is suffering from pain, which you can then present to your vet.

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