Straight From the Vet's Mouth
A Monthly Newsletter Straight from Your Veterinarian
May 15, 2017
No. 1: Oral Health for Pets. What is it? Why it is Important.
Your dog or cat is part of your family. You do not want him or her to suffer pain and you want them to live the longest life possible.
We do too!
In this blog, I want to pass on to you why veterinary experts consider your pets oral health to be among the most important, (possibly the most important), thing you can do to make this happen.
Keeping your pet’s mouth free from infection will help them have the longest life possible and can and remove pain which we don’t even know they feel until after it is removed. This is relatively simple and inexpensive. It is probably in the top two or three most beneficial investments you can make into your pet’s wellbeing.
“So why is oral health so important?”
Unlike us humans, dogs and cats almost never get cavities. This is because of the shape of their teeth.
What is extremely common for them is infection and abscesses beneath the gum line, around the roots. This is called Periodontal Disease.
Cavities are mostly above the gum line. 60-70% of dental disease in dogs and cats is below the gum line.
When the tissue around the roots gets infected, it results in abscesses. The large numbers of bacteria at these sites enter directly into the bloodstream. They circulate around the body and ultimately lodge in places like the heart valves and kidneys.
This causes disease which reduces your pet’s life span!
Just by keeping their mouth free of infection, you may add two to three years to your pet’s life!
Pets mask periodontal pain very well unless it is very severe, but after the infection is removed, many owners report that they are noticeably happier and spunkier.
“So, how do I go about keeping my pet’s mouth free of infection?”
Routine professional cleaning/scaling and brushing at home.
A professional cleaning is comprised of a full mouth X-Ray, (without which it is impossible to identify where the disease is), pre-anesthetic blood work to identify and address anesthetic risk, and intra-venous fluids which has multiple benefits but one main one is the ability to keep blood pressure from dropping, which can cause permanent kidney damage. During this procedure, the teeth are ultrasonically and manually scaled, removing all tartar and calculus. If there are gingival pockets, these are also scaled and curetted. All these areas are then polished to remove microscopic nooks and crannies where bacteria hide and multiply.
When pockets are discovered via manual probing and X-Ray, we place a long acting dental antibiotic at the very bottom of the pocket. The antibiotic is released for a month, helping the root to heal back to its attachment.
If abscesses or very deep pockets are found, these teeth need to be extracted. If not, these areas will quickly become re-infected causing the same problems we are trying to avoid.
After your pet’s mouth is back to a pristine condition, (no tartar or calculus, no teeth which were too far gone to save, and no bad odor), we will show you how to brush his or her teeth daily, removing plaque which is the pre-cursor to tartar and calculus. In most pets, it is very easy and takes less than a minute.
We enjoy dentistry and are highly skilled in this area of veterinary medicine.
Our comprehensive dental packages are reasonably priced and very safe.
We are advocates for your pet. Let us help you keep them free of pain and to enjoy them for many more years.
J. Korn, DVM