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OWNERS REMINDED THAT PETS NEED DENTAL CARE, TOO
National Pet Dental Health Month Campaign Urges Pet Owners to Fight Plaque at Home

Topeka, KS (January, 2007) — Hill's Pet Nutrition, Inc. helps sponsor the 14th annual Pets Need Dental Care, Too™ program, part of February's National Pet Dental Health Month.

The Pet's Need Dental Care, Too campaign fosters dental health for pets by encouraging pet owners to work with their veterinary health care teams to schedule regular dental appointments for their pets and establish an at-home dental care routine.

"Oral disease is the most frequently diagnosed health problem for pets and ensuring proper oral care requires a yearlong commitment from pet owners," said Janet Donlin, D.V.M., Chief of Veterinary Business Channel at Hill's. "Through an at home regimen of daily maintenance owners can help ensure a better quality of life for their canine and feline companions."

Emerging science is showing that the mouth is a window into the health of the human body which can show signs of nutritional deficiencies or general infection. For example, systemic diseases —those that affect the entire body— may first become apparent as a part of periodontal disease.1 To address this, the American Dental Association recommends adult men and women brush twice a day, eat balanced meals and schedule routine dental visits for professional cleanings and oral exams. This protocol for a healthy mouth doesn't simply apply to humans. Many pet owners don't realize the steps dental health maintenance should also be applied to their canine and feline companions, and effective plaque control can prevent a large percentage of pet periodontitis cases.

Hill's Pet Nutrition Inc., maker of Prescription Diet® and Science Diet® brand pet foods, is cosponsoring the Pets Need Dental Care, Too campaign and through it seeks to help educate pet owners and remind veterinary health care team members of the importance of routine pet dental check-ups and home care maintenance options such as frequent brushing, routinely checking a pet's teeth and gums, and feeding specialized daily nutrition like Hill's® Prescription Diet® t/d® Canine and Feline pet foods.

"Effective oral home care coupled with regular professional dental care provides the pet with an optimal combination for maintaining a healthy mouth," said Linda J. DeBowes, D.V.M., MS. "This combination not only decreases plaque accumulation, but also provides an opportunity to identify oral problems earlier than what might otherwise have been found."

According to the American Veterinary Dental Society (AVDS), it is estimated that more than 80 percent of dogs and cats over the age of four show signs of oral disease, often indicated by bad breath, a change in eating or chewing habits, pawing at the face and mouth and depression. If inflammation of the gum is left untreated, the bone around the roots of teeth can begin to deteriorate, and as the bone tissue is destroyed, teeth may become loose or fall out. Eventually, the infection can cause receding gums and tooth loss and may enter the bloodstream, potentially affecting the heart, liver and kidneys.

"Every visit to the veterinarian should include dialogue regarding your pet's dental health," said Kara M. Burns, MS, MEd, LVT, veterinary technician specialist at Hill's. "Preventing and treating periodontal disease through home-care protocols tailored to each patient and client is important to the pet's overall health."

National Pet Dental Health Month's Pets Need Dental Care, Too campaign is made possible through a partnership between American Veterinary Medical Association, AVDS, Academy of Veterinary Dentistry, American Veterinary Dental College, Academy of Veterinary Dental Technicians and Hill's Pet Nutrition Inc.

For more information on proper pet dental care, contact your veterinarian.

1 Healthy mouth, healthy body. Journal American Dental Association, April 2006;137:563.

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