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Could Periodontal Disease Cause Weakness and Balance Issues in Senior Pets?

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Dear VetBabble: Addressing Periodontal Disease and Generalized Weakness in Aging Pets

Dear VetBabble, my senior Chihuahua who is over 12 years old has been diagnosed with periodontal disease. Just recently, I noticed he has stopped eating. Moreover, he doesn’t want to walk and appears unstable, as he keeps falling over when trying to sit. I’ve read that dogs with periodontal disease may not want to eat, and he might need more dental care, like tooth removal or antibiotics. However, what concerns me more is his imbalance. Could this be related to his dental issues or is it a separate problem altogether? Should I get in touch with a local vet immediately or is this something that can wait?

Understanding Periodontal Disease in Dogs

Periodontal disease, commonly seen in older dogs, is a serious dental condition that happens when infection or inflammation of the structures around the teeth, including the gums, occurs. This could lead to difficulty eating and ultimately impact a dog’s nutrition and overall wellbeing. It’s common for dogs suffering from this issue to refuse to eat, as illustrated in the article, “Why Won’t My Dog Eat?“.

Importance of Dental Care and Addressing Periodontal Disease

Effective dental care plays a crucial role in handling and preventing periodontal disease. Consistent oral hygiene, including teeth brushing, can significantly reduce the chances of periodontal disease development in your pet. Visit “Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth: Preventative Dental Care” for a detailed guide on how to brush your dog’s teeth effectively.

Additionally, treatments such as tooth extraction and antibiotics are often needed for severe cases of periodontal disease. It’s important to remember not to underestimate dental issues, as they could lead to more serious systemic diseases if left untreated. To learn more about dental care for your pet, check out the article on “Dog Teeth Cleaning & Dental Care“.

Assessing the Cause of Your Dog’s Lack of Stability

The loss of balance your dog is experiencing is, indeed, concerning. This symptom, while possibly being a side effect of severe pain from periodontal disease, could also be indicative of other health concerns. Issues ranging from neurological disorders, ear infections, or simply old age could be responsible. It is critical to note that diarrhea could be another sign pointing to a systemic or general health issue. If you notice this symptom, it’s discussed more in “Why Does My Dog Have Diarrhea?“.

Given the symptoms your dog is exhibiting, I strongly recommend reaching out to a veterinarian immediately, rather than waiting. If your local vet is unavailable, please consult your nearest emergency vet. Dealing with aging pets and their potential health issues can be challenging, but rest assured, a vet can provide guidance and necessary treatment to improve your dog’s quality of life.

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