For additional information, please contact:
Dr. Joann Young
187 Watson Rd.
P.O. Box 1395
Dover, NH 03821-1395
603-742-6369 (742-MEOW)

Dover, New Hampshire, February, 2003:

National Dental Health Month - Does Your Cat Have Fish Breath?

February is National Pet Dental Health Month!

Dr. Joann Young, The Cat Doctor of Dover, is encouraging all pet owners to have their pets teeth examined by a veterinarian this month for National Pet Dental Health Month. Dr.Young states that "Almost three out of four cats (and dogs, too!) have tooth and gum disease by age three, according to the American Veterinary Dental Society. It is the number one diagnosed problem in small animal clinics today." Signs of tooth and gum (periodontal) disease include tooth decay, bad breath ("fish breath"), bleeding gums, and even tooth loss. "Problems begin when food particles and bacteria build up in the cat's mouth, forming plaque and tartar, causing gingivitis and severe periodontal disease. These bacteria can enter the pet's bloodstream and damage the heart, liver, kidneys, and lungs, according to research," says Dr. Young. During their lifetime, one out of four domestic cats will develop very painful gum line lesions (from pockets of pus separating the teeth from the gums), which makes it hurt to eat causing weight loss and other problems. A twenty-five percent incidence in their lifetime can use up over two of their nine lives, she said with a smile.

The Cat Doctor of Dover has a full service hospital for cats, including a specialized dental xray unit, high speed dental drills, and ultrasonic scalers just like you would find at your own dentist's office. Dr. Young may be becoming the leading feline dental specialist in New Hampshire. She has received dental referrals from other veterinarians as far away as Milford, after only a little over a year since opening her clinic at 187 Watson Road in Dover. In order to encourage cat owners to bring in their pets during National Pet Dental Health Month, she is offering $10.00 off every dental prophylaxis procedure this February. This includes a dental examination, scaling off plaque and tartar, polishing the teeth, and applying fluoride gel. Interested cat owners should call The Cat Doctor of Dover at 742-MEOW (6369) for an appointment. She has made a poster and storyboard of pictures taken to demonstrate what occurs during an actual procedure, and also has examples of actual infected and removed teeth. "Before" and "After" teeth cleaning pictures are also available on The Cat Doctor of Dover's website,, along with links to "Pets Need Dental Care, Too" at

February 2003 marks the ninth consecutive year of the "Pets Need Dental Care, Too" campaign which is celebrated during National Pet Dental Health Month. This annual event is cosponsored by the American Veterinary Dental Society, the American Veterinary Medical Association and Hill's Pet Nutrition, Inc. The goal of this nationwide effort is to educate pet owners and their communities on the importance of pet oral health and regular veterinary dental checkups. The 2003 "Pets Need Dental Care, Too" campaign features the cartoon characters Pete, the plaque-fighting pooch, and Gigi, the gingivitis-fighting kitty. This year the disease fighting duo is determined to prevent the "Plaque Gang" from robbing innocent pets of good oral health.

According to Dr. Young, cat owners are urged to follow three simple steps to prevent serious health problems:

Step 1
Make an appointment with The Cat Doctor of Dover for a dental exam. Each year, as part of a thorough physical exam, the veterinarian will check your pet's teeth and gums. If plaque and tartar buildup is evident, the veterinarian may recommend a dental cleaning.

Step 2
Start a home care dental routine. An in-home regimen may include specially formulated nutrition that reduces the accumulation of plaque and tartar as well as regular toothbrushing.

Step 3
Monitor the pet's oral health by scheduling checkups with The Cat Doctor. Regular dental cleanings may be recommended.

Cat owners should call The Cat Doctor of Dover at 742-MEOW (6369) for an appointment. The clinic is conveniently located not far from the Cocheco Valley Humane Society, northwest of Dover at 187 Watson Road, between County Farm and Tolend Roads. More information is also available on The Cat Doctor of Dover's website,