Exotis ISSN 2398-2985

Ferrets

Periodontal disease

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

Introduction

  • Cause: the periodontal ligament is compromised and inflammation/infection usually extends into the periodontal tissues and deeper to the bone, causing an osteomyelitis.
  • Signs: calculus, gingivitis, loose teeth, exposed tooth root.
  • Diagnosis: dental examination, radiography.
  • Treatment: scaling, incise excess gums, tooth extraction, gingivectomy, NSAIDs.
  • The author has developed a grading system to assist in determining a dental program Dental examination.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Usually the condition starts with calculus build up on the tooth surface.
  • Gingivitis progresses and the inflammation/infection extends into the sulcus, then deepens into the periodontal tissues.
  • If the ligament is compromised, the tooth will become loose.
  • The tooth root itself may become exposed.
  • Osteomyelitis develops.
  • May involve more than one tooth.
  • This is a painful condition.

Predisposing factors

General

  • Diets of natural prey prevent periodontal disease, while canned soft food may predispose to it.

Pathophysiology

  • Gingivitis Gingivitis left unchecked along with calculus and time contribute to periodontal disease where the tissue destruction extends into the periodontal ligaments and the bone itself.
  • As this process continues, infection and inflammation can involve the tooth root and abscess, with permanent damage occurring to the tooth; this is a painful process.
  • As the inflammation increases, the depth of the sulcus increases leading to periodontal disease.
  • Many ferrets become anorectic due to oral pain.
  • In one study, the normal gingival sulcus depth measured <0.5 mm in 87.8 % of anesthetized ferrets being screened for dental disease:
    • Gingivitis was defined as probing depths of >0.5 mm and <2 mm, which is also evidence of periodontal disease.
    • Clinical evidence of periodontal disease was present in 65.3 % of anesthetized ferrets (gingivitis or probing depths >0.5 mm).
    • Advanced periodontal disease, ie periodontal pockets >2 mm or stage 3 furcation exposure, was not found upon clinical examination

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Eroshin V V, Reiter A M, Rosenthal K et al (2011) Oral examination results in rescued ferrets: clinical findings. J Vet Dentistry 28 (1), 8-15 PubMed.


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