can be a sign of dental diseases, such as gingivitis, tartar, periodontal disease, stomatitis, even tumors or cancers. Den- tal health is one of the major factors en- abling our animal companions to enjoy quality life. Dental disease will not only cause your pets pain and discomfort, but also shorten their life. According to the research conducted by the Ameri- can Veterinary Medical Association, ap- proximately 80 per cent of dogs and 70 per cent of cats develop some form of periodontal disease by the time they are three years old, due to the fact that they do not brush their teeth, and they age much faster than humans (one pet year equals five to seven human years). More pet owners are becoming aware of the importance of dental health. Remember, pets rarely show any signs of oral pain. They had to tolerate dental pain in nature. Their animal in- stinct is not to show signs of weakness. They will often eat normally despite intense pain. When your pet ingests food, plaque (bacteria film) builds up from the food remaining in its mouth. Without cleaning, it will transform into a brownish substance, called tartar. As bacteria moves to the roots of the teeth, it will cause gingivitis (inflammation), or even bleeding gums. Left untreated, it will eventually lead to tooth loss, gum recession,

infection and severe pain

(periodontal disease). In addition, bac- teria from the infection can affect the heart, lungs and kidneys through the

Pet periodontal disease H

Wenchao Zheng

ave you ever wondered why your pets have bad breath (hal- itosis)? Stay alert, because this

Dental health makes a big contribution to the health and happiness of your cat and dog.

bloodstream. Routine veterinary check-ups every six months and preventative home den- tal care can significantly improve your pets’ oral health. During a dental exam, your veterinarian checks for any signs or symptoms of dental diseases and sug- gests treatment if necessary. A dental cleaning and extractions are

always the best way to treat dental dis- ease. As pet owners, there are a number of things we can do at home to help. Daily tooth brushing is an effective way to prevent dental disease. Keep in mind,

it is important to use toothpaste and brushes that are designed for pets. Hu- man toothpaste may contains chemicals that are harmful to pets. In the begin- ning, your pets may resist while brush- ing their teeth. You should not force your pets. Instead, patience and guid- ance will let your pets gradually become comfortable with tooth brushing. It is also best to start doing this when they are puppies and kittens. Controlling what your pet eats is also essential to their oral health. For dogs and cats, veterinarians recommend large

kibble food make up at least half their diet, such as Hills t/d food. Large chunk pet food will scrape the teeth clean as they chew. Vets also recommend all cats eat at least 50 per cent canned food, in order to prevent urinary crystal block- age, kidney disease and constipation. There are also supplements, like water additives for dogs and cats that can help fight plaque and tartar. If you would like more information, please call 204-586-3334 or visit Animal Hospital of Manitoba at 995 Main Street, Winnipeg.

The clever and resourceful house mouse I

Dorothy Dobbie

f you see a mouse in your house, you can be sure there is more than one unless it’s moving day. Mice leave pheromone trails in their urine for their

friends and fellows to follow and to provide themselves with navigational tools. Mice multiply rapidly, produc- ing five to 10 litters a year, with each of their three to 16 offspring becoming capable six weeks later of producing their own families. An individual mouse can live four years. The common house mouse, Mus musculus, was im-

ported here from southern Asia and it loves to raise its family in your snug, warm home. Mus musculus have large ears and small eyes and feet, are brown to dark grey with lighter bellies and weigh less than 28 grams. Native deer mice, Peromyscus maniculatus, will also

invade buildings. These mice look quite similar but their scaly tails are brown on the top and white under- neath. Disney made the mouse look cute and lovable, but deer mice can carry the deadly hantavirus in their feces which, when breathed in by humans, can lead to respiratory failure with a 38 per cent fatality rate. There is no “cure”, only treatment. Avoid contact with droppings and wear a mask when cleaning mouse-in- fected areas. Mice can squeeze through incredibly small openings – as tiny as one-quarter inch in diameter. When closing up possible entry points to your home, be sure to plug the hole with something they can’t chew through. Ex- terminators suggest high quality copper wool, backed up by caulking. Mice are also incredibly athletic. They can jump straight up, 30 centimetres (one foot) off the ground and another 2.5 metres (over six feet) down without injury. They can also swim. They can climb sheer rock or brick. Mice sleep 12 hours a day, generally during daylight,

so catching sight of them can be tricky. They are fa- mous for their dim eyesight, although they can see bet- ter than you might think and they use their whiskers as a navigational aid. They have extremely keen hearing A study at the University of California has discov-

ered that when mice are infected with a parasite that can only complete its life cycle in the gut of a cat, the mouse brain is affected in a way that makes it lose its

June 2018

Mice: there is never just one!

fear of cats. This way, from the parasite’s point of view, it can get back into the cat’s digestive system and re- produce. The mouse only has to come into contact with the feces of a cat to be infected. The parasite – Taxoplasma gondii not only has a long-term effect on the brains of mice, it has been linked to mental illness in humans. It is estimated that 60 million Americans are infected with Taxoplasma gondii, which is linked to schizophrenia, bi-polar disease, obsessive compulsive disorder and even clumsiness! Mice are overwhelmed by highly aromatic sub-

stances such as cloves, peppermint oil and mothballs. Apparently, they do not like walking on tinfoil so you can try covering countertops to keep them from those

surfaces. They are not that stupid, though. They can sense danger and will avoid mousetraps that have been sprung. In one case, the mice carefully separated poi- son tablets from bait and neatly left the tablets in a muffin tin for the homeowner to discover. If you are an animal lover and trap live mice to re-

move to another jurisdiction, better make sure the lo- cation is far away. Even though, in general, mice don’t stray far from home (12 to 25 feet in search of food), mice have been tracked as returning to their homes from as far away as 1.2 miles (1,980 metres) away. Dorothy Dobbie is the owner of Manitoba Gardener magazine. She broadcasts a weekly gardening show on CJNU, 93.7 FM every Sunday morning at 8 a.m. 15

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