According to the latest studies, dental disease is one of the most frequently diagnosed health problems for our pets. By the age of two, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have some form of dental disease. It’s one of the most common problems faced by our four-legged family members.
Dental disease is more than just a cosmetic issue. When your feline friend or canine companion has red gums, yellow teeth, and stinky breath, it could be a sign of serious oral disease that could, if left untreated, lead to devastating affects on your pet’s quality of life. Neglecting your pet’s teeth can lead to serious consequences, including infection, severe pain and even organ damage. With regular oral health maintenance and check-ups, most of these problems can be avoided. This is why annual dental check for your pets is extremely important!
Caring for your pet’s pearly whites isn’t just an August thing; veterinarians all across the country want to remind pet owners that their pet’s dental health should also be a concern all year long.
Pets can’t brush their own teeth, but pet owners can help to protect their pets from dental disease by combining a good dental homecare program, with regular dental examinations and a complete and balanced clinically proven dental food.
Dental procedures in pets require a general anaesthetic, and as many of our patients with dental disease are older, we will also place them on IV fluids during the procedure. Placing you pet on an IV drip prior to surgery can reduce the risk of complications during an anaesthetic, allow the administration of medications directly into the blood stream, and also helps your pet recover from the anaesthetic.
Our pets need to be anaesthetised to carry out a thorough dental examination, and to clean all teeth without distressing them. Once anaesthetised, a complete dental examination is carried out. This process involves charting all present teeth and evaluating their condition, including the degree of tartar, gingivitis (gum inflammation) and any pockets in the gums around the teeth. Our veterinarians will then remove the tartar above the gumline using a special ultrasonic scaler, just like a dentist uses for our teeth. The teeth are then polished using a dental polisher and specialised fine-grade paste. If the dental disease is not severe, the procedure will end here. However, if certain teeth are so severely affected they cannot be saved, extractions will be necessary. In some cases, gum surgery is required to close the holes left behind when a tooth is extracted, and dissolvable stitches are used for this procedure. Once all dental work is completed, your pet may be given an antibiotic and an anti-inflammatory injection, the anaesthetic gas is turned off, and your pet is allowed to wake up. Pets are generally able to go home on the same day.
After a dental procedure, it is important to instigate some form of prevention. Daily tooth brushing is the gold standard and is tolerated by many dogs with a patient owner. Alternatively, the use of a dental diet can be substituted for the animal’s normal food.
There are a number of dental friendly diets on the market, Hills t/d and Royal Canin Dental. These foods act as an edible toothbrush, and are clinically proven to reduce gingivitis, stains, plaque and tartar accumulation. The kibble cleans the teeth as the pet eats, holding together longer to scrub each tooth like a toothbrush. It also contains some ingredients that prevent the formation of plaque and tartar. During August we are offering a 30% discount on Hill’s t/d and Royal Canin Dental diets. All our prescription diets come with a money back guarantee, so you can try it risk free, knowing you can receive a refund if they don’t like it.
Our clinic recommends the use of Oravet chews as a daily treat designed to reduce plaque on your dog’s teeth. These are designed to be chewed over several minutes and contain a compound (delmopinol) which forms a barrier stopping bacteria attaching to the teeth.
Raw bones should be used with caution as they can be associated with fractured teeth or gastrointestinal problems. Never feed cooked bones to your pet.
You can brush your pet’s teeth using a specially designed dog or cat toothbrush, combined with pet toothpaste. Human toothpaste is not safe for pets. If you are not sure how to do this, ask one of our staff to show you. It does need to be done daily to be effective.