This is a featured guest article from Basepaws. Demand better for your cat - with their at-home cat health tests, you'll know your cat, inside and out.
Author: the Basepaws team
Whether you are new to being a pet parent or have had your furry friend for years, we know how expensive vet bills can be - especially when it comes to dental. Luckily, pet technology has only gotten better and we now have access to tools that improve the life of our pet’s as well as our lives as pet parents!
DID YOU KNOW? It is estimated that between 50-90% of all adult cats suffer from some kind of dental health issue, with periodontal disease being the number one culprit. Dental disease is most commonly associated with the formation of dental plaque and tartar formation, as a result of bacteria in the mouth.
In the past, our best tools to prevent plaque and tartar buildup have been at-home dental care, such as routine tooth brushing or applying oral gel, and professional dental cleanings done by your veterinarian as needed or recommended. However, by the time that most cats have their first dental cleaning, dental disease is already present. It can also be difficult to predict the extent of dental disease in advance of dental cleanings, as most of your cat’s teeth are embedded in their gums. The relationship between your cat’s mouth and dental disease goes much deeper than we can see, even with a trained eye, and new developments in feline dental care are helping us get the root of the problem. While maintaining a dental health routine with your feline is still extremely important, now there is more you can do.
Feline Oral Microbiome
Your cat’s oral microbiome is home to both “good” and “bad” bacteria, and is a fiercely competitive place due to the constant exposure to foreign microbial organisms. Your cat’s food sources and environmental factors make your cat’s oral cavity a place of unique interactions between microbes and their feline host. As pathogenic microbes colonize large parts of the oral cavity, disease begins to develop. With a simple saliva sample, Basepaws can generate a dental health report based on the state of your cat’s oral microbiome, which can reveal information about the health of tissues in the mouth and point to potential dental and gum diseases.
Early Detection and Prevention of Dental Conditions
The Basepaws Dental CatKit is a pre-diagnostic, preventative care tool that allows cat parents and veterinarians to address dental health proactively before significant damage occurs. Blending years of research, the latest advances in Next Generation Sequencing and microbiome research and data from over 38,000 cats, Basepaws Dental CatKit is able to detect microbial patterns associated with dental disease. Using this information, cat parents and veterinarians can develop highly personalized care plans to improve feline dental health, prevent the onset or progression of dental conditions, and detect and treat conditions including periodontal disease, tooth resorption, and halitosis.
Know Your Cat’s Risk
Depending on how similar your cat’s oral microbiome is to oral microbiomes of cats known to suffer from periodontal disease, tooth resorption or halitosis, we assign a risk score for each dental condition. A low risk score for these conditions indicates that the current state of the cat’s microbiome shows (almost) no features consistent with suffering from a particular dental condition. A medium risk score indicates that the current state of the cat’s microbiome shows some features consistent with suffering from a particular dental condition. If your cat scores high-risk, this indicates that the current state of the cat’s microbiome shows multiple features consistent with suffering from a particular dental condition.
Health Implications of Dental Conditions
Your cat’s dental health is an incredible indicator of their overall health. With the progression of this dental disease, pathogenic microbes can enter the bloodstream and travel to other organs and are associated with a higher incidence of chronic kidney disease, cardiovascular problems, diabetes mellitus and some autoimmune diseases.
Improving Feline Dental Care At Home
Your cat’s dental report is a key first step in understanding their oral health. It is recommended that you schedule an appointment with your veterinarian upon receiving results to complete a thorough dental examination. Good oral health also requires an at-home dental care routine, such as ‘flipping the lip’ and brushing regularly, monitoring decreased appetite and weight loss, and, feeding a high-quality diet and ensuring constant access to fresh, clean water.