Exotis ISSN 2398-2985

Ferrets

Dental abscess

Contributor(s): Cathy Johnson-Delaney, David Perpinan

Introduction

  • Cause: trauma, calculus formation.
  • Signs: exudate/swelling at affected site, fractured tooth (discolored or loose), tooth root fistula, discolored gum/regression over abscessed tooth, dental pain, malodor, anorexia, dehydration, weight loss.
  • Diagnosis: dental radiography, oral examination under general anesthesia.
  • Treatment: drain abscess, tooth extraction, irrigation/flushing.
  • Prognosis: good.
Print off the Owner Factsheet on Abscesses to give to your clients.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Abscesses may get started with trauma to an individual tooth or gum area , or with calculus formation typically in the gingival sulcus.
  • In many cases by the time the abscess is discovered, the tooth is no longer viable, and there is enough periodontal disease and bone loss to make root canal and tooth retention not an option.
  • Secondary anorexia, dehydration and weight loss may be seen if the condition is causing oral pain.

Predisposing factors

General

  • Maxillary canine teeth commonly involved.

Pathophysiology

  • Abscess of a tooth may come from diseased gums, periodontal tissues and underlying bone.
  • Infection may also enter the tooth from the pulp cavity if it becomes exposed due to fracture or caries (rarely seen in ferrets).
  • Generally the tooth root is involved.
  • Fistulas to the external nasal cavity or the buccal mucosa can occur.
  • Severe abscesses may be associated with extensive bone loss and can contribute to the death of the animal.

Epidemiology

  • One study reported that dental abscesses affect 12% of the pet ferret population.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • emec A, Zadravec M & Racnik J (2016) Oral and dental diseases in a population of domestic ferrets (Mustela putorius furo). J Small Anim Pract 57 (10), 553-560 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Mayer J & Donnelly T M (2013) Clinical Veterinary Advisor: Birds and Exotic Pets. Elsevier, USA. pp 752.
  • Lewington J H (2007) Ferret Husbandry, Medicine and Surgery. 2nd edn. Saunders, USA. pp 521.


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