Periodontal Disease is more commonly referred to as Gum Disease. It is a deteriorating condition of the gum that can affect other areas of the mouth like the tooth if it is left untreated. It often stays with an animal for its life when it starts and can be very hard and tedious to treat. If left untreated it can cause the animal great pain.
If the animal has a sweet smelling breath (Often caused by the bacteria decaying the teeth/gums) then gum disease is likely. Another key symptom is bleeding gums or general sensitivity in the gum area, sometimes a pus can be causes by this as a result of inflammation. If the animal also tries to paw at their jaw or has a loss of appetite in conjunction with these other symptoms than a visit to the vets should be scheduled as soon as possible.
The most notable and obvious causes of Periodontal Disease are Plaque and Tartar. These all layers of bacteria and/or food residues which strongly adhere to the teeth and gums. It accumulates rapidly and spreads fast, it is also sometimes not the most visible. This is a leading causes of Periodontal Disease as the bacteria grows fast and spreads to the gums where it can causes damage to a large extent causing the animals a lot of pain. The plaque causes a condition called Gingivitis which is the inflammation of gum tissue.
Firstly the teeth and gums have to be examined under general anesthesia to check the extent of the damage. A periodontal probe may be used in conjunction with an X-Ray to assess the condition of the teeth and surrounding gum.
Almost always treatment will be different but usually the first stage will be to remove as much tartar and plaque as possible as this is the root of the problem. If the case is not extremely severe than it is likely that treatment will e carried on at home by the pet's owners via the use of prescription. It is important the the owner understands that periodontitis will require a lot of attention and care as it is irreversible so care will be required throughout the pet's life.
Whilst some causes of Periodontal Disease can be genetic, there are many things that you can do to help prevent this condition in animals. Giving the animal a diet (Or dental chews) that is specifically designed for oral hygiene will help drastically as it acts to clean the teeth from disease causing plaque and tartar. Failing this a more natural diet will work also as foods like raw meats act as a sort of natural toothbrush that exercises the jaw and the abrasion helps remove the top layer of bacteria.
Another useful thing is to closely examine the animals teeth on a frequent basis. This allows you to notice disease earlier on which means a more effective treatment, regular visits to veterinary centers for oral examinations will help also. Even something as simple as brushing your animals teeth a few times will greatly cut the risk.