Hi Everyone! 

Jessica Halbrucker, CVT

I’m Jessica Halbrucker, CVT and lover of pet dentistry!

Does your pet’s smile hurt?  Does their breath stink? If so, chances are your pet has some form of Periodontal Disease and we’re here to get to the bottom of it. 

Did you know that your dog has 42 teeth in their mouth or that your cat has 30?! 

Crazy right? Not many people realize this fun fact, because looking in your pet’s mouth may be a challenge. Periodontal disease is one of the top diseases affecting our pets today. It is also one of the most preventable. 

Have you ever noticed when you wake up in the morning that your teeth feel “fuzzy”? This same process affects your pet’s teeth. Biofilm (fuzz) can form within 6-8 hours after brushing and calculus (tartar that turns to plaque) can form in 12-18 hours. 

What is periodontal disease? Well, let’s break it down.  In the veterinary world, we refer to it as Perio.  It has 4 stages.

So what do these stages look like?

Dental Grading Chart

Dental Grading Chart
Image Provided by Parkside Animal Hospital

Stage 1 starts with gingivitis or redness of the gums. This is the only stage that is reversible by daily brushing.

Stage 2 is where we start to see more inflammation in the gums with a small amount of bleeding. On x-ray, we can see the early stages of bone loss.

Stage 3 is more advanced inflammation and we begin to see a gingival recession or gum loss. This is when we can see parts of the root from bone loss. We can see extractions in this stage.

Stage 4 is the worst of the worst. In this stage we can see roots of the tooth; you may also have white or green discharge coming from the areas around the tooth. In this stage, we will be taking a few teeth out. 


If you’re unsure of your pet’s periodontal disease stage give us a call to schedule a complimentary dental exam!


Saturday, Jan 18th from 1-3pm.

Brush Your Pet’s Teeth!

How can you prevent this from happening to your pet? Brushing is the gold standard for pets and people.  We understand that brushing your pet’s teeth can be a challenge.  Starting them off at a young age is the key.  We recommend teeth brushing at the first puppy or kitten appointment. Yes, they have baby teeth, and this is the best time to start.

Sometimes even with brushing their teeth every single morning (or at least trying to), we still recommend yearly professional dental cleanings. Why? With the cleanings, we are able to access each tooth, determine if there are any concerns and address them right away. We are also able to clean below the gum line where brushing is not as effective. During these cleanings we also take full mouth radiographs to check out the bone below the gum line there we can see if there is any bone loss, root concerns or even jaw fractures! We will talk about dental x-rays in our next blog! 


There are several approved pet toothpaste options as well as different toothbrush options.

Feline Dental Product

A great choice for cats, easy to use and tastes great!

Pet Toothpaste

Flavors include Beef, Chicken, Seafood, Malt and our favorite, Vanilla Mint

More information can be found on the Veterinary Oral Health Council’s website: http://www.vohc.org/


Please ask me, Jessica, or another staff member for other suggestions.  We are happy to help!

Jessica Halbrucker, CVT
Sauk Prairie Small Animal Hospital


Stay tuned for my upcoming blogs on Digital Radiographs and Dental Home Care ideas!



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