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Research article2021Peer reviewedOpen access

Dental Problems and Prophylactic Care in Cats-Knowledge and Perceptions among Swedish Cat Owners and Communication by Veterinary Care Staff

Oskarsson, Kristin; Puurtinen, Louise Axelsson; Penell, Johanna Christina


Dental problems are increasingly recognised in cats although many problems are preventable by tooth brushing. However, the knowledge level and preventive measures performed by owners are unclear. Additionally, there is a shortage of information on the communication by veterinary care staff to owners on dental health and prophylaxis in cats. The aim was to describe the knowledge and perceptions among Swedish cat owners and the communication by veterinary care staff on dental problems and prevention in cats. We distributed two electronic surveys; to cat owners and care staff, respectively. Of the cat owners, n = 407, 2/3 stated that they have knowledge about dental disease, listing modified eating behaviour as the most common sign followed by gingivitis, halitosis, pain and dental calculus. The main source of information was the internet followed by veterinary care staff, and 47% of the owners reported that they perform preventive oral health measures. The single most frequently stated preventive measure was tooth brushing, which was applied by 28% of the cat owners but with low frequency (daily n = 15, every second day n = 14). Veterinary care staff, n = 179, reported that they inform (47%) or sometimes inform (42%) cat owners on prophylactic dental care, daily or 3-7 times a week (combined 39%) most frequently by oral communication, with tooth brushing as the most common measure recommended. This study suggests that cat owners have relevant knowledge on dental health in cats, but the performed preventive measures are too infrequent to support good oral health in cats. There is room to develop strategies such as improvement in education and communication to increase welfare in cats. This includes consideration of the motivation and practical options for owners of cats who may not tolerate tooth brushing.


cat; oral health; dental; knowledge; perceptions; prevention; survey; veterinarian; veterinary nurse; owner

Published in

2021, Volume: 11, number: 9, article number: 2571
Publisher: MDPI

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Clinical Science

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