The Importance of Dental Health for Your Cat or Dog

Friday, 23 February 2018 06:15

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February is National Dental Health Month. Our pet’s oral hygiene is just as important as ours. According to the American Veterinary Dental College, periodontal disease, also known as dental diseases, is the most common clinical condition occurring in adult dogs and cats and by three years of age, most dogs and cats have some evidence of periodontal disease. Unfortunately, periodontal disease goes beyond bad breath and can present multiple problems in the oral cavity and internal organs.


What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease is an infection of the structures surrounding the teeth including the gums. Periodontal disease doesn’t just affect your pet’s teeth and gums, but it can also lead to deterioration of the jaw bone and impact their overall health. The bacteria involved in dental disease circulate through the bloodstream and can negatively affect the heart, kidneys and other organs.

What are the signs of periodontal disease?

Pets are very good at hiding their pain and discomfort and you may not even be able to tell that your dog or cat is suffering from periodontal disease. Some signs that your pet may need a dental cleaning include bad breath, trouble eating, tarter on the teeth, loose teeth or pawing at their mouth.

What is involved in a dental cleaning?

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Here at Avery Creek Pet Hospital, our doctors routinely recommend dental cleanings for your pets. We’ll do bloodwork on your pet prior to their dental cleaning to check internal organ function and ensure red and white blood cells are normal. Each pet’s anesthetic medication is tailored to their individual needs and health issues. All pets receive an IV catheter, so we can give them fluids and circulate the anesthesia.

An endotracheal tube ensures both oxygen and gas anesthesia are flowing well. We use a pulse oximeter to measure the oxygen level in her blood as well as measuring her heart rate. Your pet’s teeth will be cleaned with a human grade ultrasonic scaler. We check the teeth for any pockets of infection or abnormalities of the tooth surface. We then polish them.

After the cleaning, dental x-rays are taken to check the roots. Sometimes an abscess or bone loss can be discovered by x-ray that can’t be seen just by looking at the teeth. Depending on what we find, the doctor may recommend an extraction. We’ll watch your pet as they wake up from anesthesia to ensure they are breathing well and waking up normally.

Are there anesthesia risk?

The risks involved with modern anesthesia are extremely low. Here at Avery Creek Pet Hospital, we require that all surgical and dental patients have pre-anesthetic bloodwork as part of our pre-anesthetic assessment and we use modern anesthetic agents minimizing the depth of anesthesia required. While your pet is under anesthesia, we have a trained staff member that is continuously monitoring the anesthesia.

We use an instrument that measures heart rate, pulse strength, blood oxygen levels and blood pressure. Many pets wake up from anesthesia quickly and are ready to go home a few hours after their dental cleaning.

For more information regarding your pet’s dental health, or to schedule an appointment at Avery Creek Pet Hospital, contact us.