January 31st, 2020
As pet owners, we are always striving to provide the best care for our four- legged children. We take them to the doctor when they are sick, feed them the food we feel is the best and give them unconditional love.
Let’s talk about the health of your pet’s teeth. Is there an odour? Are they discoloured? Are they crowded? Is your pet reluctant to chew on one side of their mouth? If you answered yes to any of these questions, it may be time to look into the health of your pet’s teeth.
When it comes to dental disease, prevention is key. Brush your pets teeth, use water additives and use teeth-friendly toys that encourage chewing. All of these things can help SLOW down the process of dental disease.
Unfortunately, practicing good oral hygiene doesn’t guarantee your pet won’t experience any dental problems. Think about your own life – We brush our teeth regularly, floss, and visit the dentist but we still end up with cavities and other teeth problems.
For this reason, it is important for your pet to have routine dental cleanings at their veterinary clinic.
Since we cannot get our pets to open wide or sit still, they have to undergo a general anesthetic in order for us to assess and treat your pet’s teeth. While people get stressed about subjecting their pet to anesthesia, there are many precautions that are taken while your pet is in our care. All of our anesthetic patients have an ECG performed to check their heart for rhythm issues, have bloodwork done to make sure their internal organs are functioning well and have a full examination done by a veterinarian prior to their surgery day.
What happens on the day of surgery?
On the day of surgery, an IV catheter is placed prior to the dentistry to help support their blood pressure, deliver pain medications if needed and to help them recover from the anesthetic. Once this is placed, your pet is put under anesthetic, first with an injectable drug combination, then they are placed on anesthetic gas (by a tube into the trachea) to provide them with oxygen and to keep them asleep during the procedure.
During the dentistry your pet will be warmed with a bear hugger (heated blanket), a heated water pad and warm, soft blankets to keep them comfortable.
The registered veterinary technician will monitor your pet’s vitals during the dentistry, and chart any teeth that are of concern.
If your pet needs any teeth removed, they will be given a local anesthetic block that will numb the area to help keep your pet comfortable both during and after surgery. Your pet will also go home with additional pain medication. Your pet may even go home with antibiotics as a preventative measure.
My pet doesn’t have any teeth?!?!?
Some people are concerned when they find out that their pet needs a full-mouth extraction (i.e. all their remaining teeth need to be removed). Usually the pets do VERY well and adapt to not having a mouth full of teeth. Remember – before the dentistry, the pet was in discomfort and now, they feel fantastic with all of those diseased teeth gone. We have even had some feline patients that went home and ate the same night like nothing happened.
Dental hygiene is not meant to be scary. Our goal is to have your pet keep all of their teeth for as long as possible.