The mouth is the source of many health issues for dogs and cats. In fact, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show signs of oral and dental disease by age three. For cats, tooth infections are one of the top 10 reasons cats see vets each year.
It’s important for pets to have annual dental exams to ensure good health and prevent dental conditions that can be very painful. Nationwide pet insurance has listed the top 5 dental woes for dogs and cats based on policyholder claims submitted in 2016.
Top 5 Most Common Dental Conditions for Dogs
- Periodontitis, tooth infection, cavity, and/or abscess
- Oral trauma or fractured tooth
- Benign oral tumor
- Deciduous teeth or complications thereof
Top 5 Most Common Dental Conditions for Cats
- Periodontitis, tooth infection, cavity or abscess
- Tooth resorption
- Oral trauma or fractured tooth
- Ulcerative stomatitis
Also known as gum disease, periodontitis is the leading oral condition for both dogs and cats. Nationwide pet policyholders filed $19 million in dental care-related claims in 2017. Periodontitis is also the No. 1 cause of tooth loss in pets.
Tooth Infection, Cavity, or Abscess
Often caused as a secondary condition due to periodontitis, dog owners filed an average $160 in individual Nationwide pet insurance claims, while cat owners filed more than $167 in individual claims during 2017. Tooth infections, cavities, and abscesses are very painful conditions to pets. Routine brushing and bi-annual checkups can be preventative.
Oral Trauma or Fractured Tooth
Pets are notably orally fixated. Their mouths get a lot of wear and tear and, in the process, accidents happen. In 2017, dog owners filed more than $1.4 million and cat owners filed more than $81,000 in Nationwide pet insurance claims to treat oral trauma or fractured teeth.
Benign Oral Tumor
Oral tumors can grow inside your pet’s mouth, creating discomfort and potentially issues eating. The good news is that not all of them are cancerous. Nationwide members filed more than $954,000 in claims to treat benign oral tumors in 2017.
Malignant Oral Tumor
Oral melanoma is an aggressive oral cancer that typically begins with a tumor growth inside your pet’s mouth. This condition is unfortunately life-threatening and requires immediate treatment in order to prolong your pet’s life and prevent the cancer from growing. In 2017, Nationwide members filed more than $878,000 in claims to surgically treat malignant oral tumors.
Tooth resorption is a dental abnormality technically referred to as feline odontoclastic resorptive lesion (FORL). These lesions develop at the pet’s neck or at the base of a tooth and are similar to cavities. While occasionally seen in dogs they occur very frequently in cats. Cat owners filed more than $182,000 in claims with Nationwide in 2017.
By definition, ulcerative stomatitis is the inflammation of the mucus lining of a pet’s mouth. This condition is worse than gingivitis: it means your pet has a wide-spread infection in his mouth that may extend into deeper tissues. This is very painful; pet owners may notice their pets have trouble chewing, or that typical behavior such as grooming and social interaction has significantly changed. In 2017, cat owners filed over $78,000 in claims to treat ulcerative stomatitis.