"Doctor, why does Fido's breath smell so bad, has he eaten something dead?" How many times do we have this question asked daily? It is TNTC (doctor acronym meaning too numerous to count). February was National Pet Dental Health Month and we celebrated it at Westridge by performing over 40 prophys (cleanings) complete with digital radiographs, ultrasonic scaling and polishing (and quite a number of extractions!!!). We commend you all who are still taking advantage of the 10% discount we always extend on dentals during February (and continue on into March in order to finish!!) each year. There are a bunch of happy dogs and cats that have a sparkling smile now and more than a few that feel so much better now that one or more bad teeth have been removed.
The odor that is sometimes so strong coming from your dog or cat's mouth can very often be associated with periodontal disease. Many times this is very evident to your doctor simply with visual inspection of the oral cavity. Loose teeth, abscessed roots, draining tracts, foreign bodies, hyperplastic gum and even occasional tumors can all be visible in a regular office exam. Unfortunately an equal number of lesions sometimes are only visible after sedation and radiographs are performed.
Unlike your visits to the dentist where, after radiographs (x-rays) and cleaning your dentist can discuss any disease in your oral cavity that needs attention and make an appointment in the future for it's remedy, we have to do everything at once with your pet. Even the apparent healthy oral cavity in your pet that has no odor may have revealed disease on closer exam under anesthesia and x-rays can especially show early disease. We know the idea of anesthesia petrifies many clients, especially those with aging pets. Unfortunately, this is often when periodontal disease rears it's ugly head. In almost 100% of these cases, the rewards are so much greater than any risk.
"In almost 100% of these cases, the rewards are so much greater than any risk."
At Westridge, we require pre-anesthetic blood work on any patient over 8 years of age. This can give the attending doctor insight into how your pet will metabolize anesthetics used to sedate your pet to point where intubation (placing the tube into the trachea that is attached then to the anesthesia machine) is performed. All dentals remain on gas anesthesia throughout the dental procedure. We only use a minimum of injectable anesthesia, maintain sedation with gas (just like in a human hospital) and minimize pain by doing intra-operative nerve blocks that last for several hours. We then monitor your pet's blood pressure, oxygenation, EKG and respiration throughout the anesthetic period until Fido or Sylvester is sitting upright looking at us!
We hope this gives you a more clear understanding of what goes into any dental procedure. We do everything that can be done to improve the experience for every patient.
Schedule your pet for a routine dental cleaning today! (Mention you read this article and the February discount will be applied through the end of April!!!!)
Dr. Murray, Dr. Burns, and Dr. Morgan will share some of their knowledge on subjects that most pet owners have questions about!
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