Why is dental care so important?
Ferrets use their mouths a lot, not just for eating; they enjoy chewing on cage bars, toys and moving things around with their teeth. They are susceptible to dental disease which begins with a plaque deposit on the teeth (as with humans). This hardens to form tartar which can be seen as a yellow-brown deposit on the tooth, beginning at the base and gradually spreading to cover the entire tooth. As tartar forms it will spread beneath the gum line, allowing bacteria to encroach and cause an infection known as gingivitis. Ferrets are also prone to chipping their canine teeth, this can happen from overzealous bar chewing or even a fall; check your pet’s teeth regularly as damage to their teeth can lead to painful abscesses.
Symptoms of dental disease
- Visible tartar
- Foul smelling breath
- Problems chewing (usually in later stages of dental disease, when it has already developed into a painful gingivitis)
- Gums that bleed easily
Your ferret may seem not themselves, lethargic or possibly have lost weight due to not eating.
Treatment of dental disease
An annual health check is the perfect time to have your ferret’s teeth checked over by a vet who may recommend further dental treatment such as a scale and polish to remove tartar or extractions if necessary. All dental treatment is performed under general anesthetic and usually patients are only in for the day.
Preventing dental disease
A good complete diet with a mixture of solid and wet food and special diets are available which help reduce plaque and tartar buildup, ask your vet about these. Dental treats are available for ferrets but are not recommended, instead opt for chew toys which will reduce plaque build up. The gold standard for dental care in ferrets is to brush your pet’s teeth regularly. Specialist animal toothbrushes and tooth pastes are available, book in with one of our nurses for a dental clinic if you need guidance on how best to keep your ferret’s teeth in good health.
Call us on 01435 864422 if you have concerns about your ferret’s dental health.