Why is dental care so important to you and your pet?
Dental disease is the most common illness encountered in veterinary medicine today and affects 9 out of 10 pets. Unfortunately, it is also the most untreated disease. Pets often go for years with painful gingivitis or even severe tooth root abscess without noticeable clinical signs to the owner. Dental disease puts tremendous demands on your pet’s organs, weakening the liver, kidneys and heart. This additional stress can lessen your pet’s quality of life and shorten life expectancy.
DID YOU KNOW...Of all pets two years of age and older 70%-85% have some degree of periodontal disease.
Why does my pet have bad breath?
After your pet has eaten a meal, plaque begins to accumulate on the teeth within four hours. This plaque is material consisting of bacteria, saliva and food particles. The bacteria begins excreting toxins and enzymes that break down the gum tissue. As a result of this bacterial infection, the gumline becomes inflamed and you will notice a very foul-smelling odor from your pet’s mouth.
Bad breath is NOT normal...it’s a sign of disease!
Over time, if plaque is allowed to remain on your pet’s teeth, it mineralizes into brown tartar that you can see. This tartar contributes to abscessed teeth, which must be extracted. Other serious medical problems may develop from the build-up of bacteria, which can be carried throughout your pet’s system. Plaque and tartar accumulation can also lead to periodontal disease (as shown in picture 3).
Signs of Dental Disease
Does your pet have...
o Bad breath
o Yellow or brown discolored teeth
o Red inflamed gums
o Loose or missing teeth
o Reluctance to play or chew toys
o Swelling around muzzle or jaw
Don’t let your pet suffer in pain!
If your pet shows any of these symptoms, call us right away at 760-471-4950. He or she may be suffering from painful dental disease. Pets can’t tell you when they hurt. It’s up to you to recognize the signs of pain.
How ABC Vet Hospital cleans your pet's teeth
Before and After Dental Cleaning
1. Pre-anesthetic Blood Work: This is a blood test that detects major organ and metabolic abnormalities that may complicate the anesthetic procedure.
2. Anesthetic Monitoring: This includes monitoring of the heart, respiration and blood pressure.
3. Intravenous Catheter and/or Fluid Therapy: Allows access for injectable drugs. Fluid therapy helps to maintain blood pressure during the procedure and avoid dehydration post-operatively.
4. Anesthesia: Inhalant gas anesthesia provides a safe and comfortable dental cleaning.
5. Dental Scaling: The process that removes the calculus and plaque from the tooth surface and below the gum line.
6. Dental Polishing: Necessary for finishing the scaling and cleaning process. Provides a smooth tooth surface after scaling and delays the reattachment of plaque causing bacteria.
7. Pain Management: Based on the needs of your pet and the procedure done.
8. Extractions: The health of each tooth is individually assessed and any tooth that is diseased should be extracted.
9. Antibiotics: If there is significant periodontal disease, antibiotics will be administered.
Brushing Your Pet’s Teeth
Brushing your dog’s teeth is easy, and once familiar with the activity, he will look forward to it. For the first few days, simply hold your pet as you normally do when petting him. For a minute or two, gently stroke the outside of his cheeks with your finger and praise him. As your pet becomes more comfortable with this activity, place a small amount of dentifrice (veterinary toothpaste) on your fingers and let him sample the flavor. Soon, he will consider it a treat. Next, introduce your pet to an animal toothbrush or fingerbrush. Gently raise his upper lip and place the brush against an upper tooth and the adjoining gumline. Gradually increase the number of teeth you brush each day, but go slowly and not beyond your pet’s comfort level. Build up to approximately 30 seconds of brushing each side of your pet’s mouth.
Note: Some cats may also tolerate this procedure.