Dental disease is the most common clinical condition in cats and dogs over the age of three
Regular dental care is an important part of preventative health care in pets as it is with ourselves. It is easy to forget the state of our pets gum health until their unpleasant breath becomes over powering. Unfortunately gum disease can rapidly become an irreversible process where a change to more aggressive bacteria leads to hidden pockets developing around the teeth. This is called periodontal disease and ultimately leads to tooth loss.
Many pets present to the Clinic where dental extractions due to advanced periodontal disease is the only treatment option. There is no doubt that chronic gum disease affects general health and may ultimately shorten life due to organ damage.
At your pets annual wellness examination the teeth will be examined and gum health graded with a dental scale and polish recommended if indicated. With some pets this may be infrequent but with some small breed dogs and cats it may be required at least every one to two years to maintain oral health.
At East Coast Bays Veterinary Clinic we are well equipped to perform quality dental care. Our dental scaler for cleaning your pets teeth, the IM3 42-12 ( www.IM3vet.com.au ) is the best available. It's clever technology makes it gentle on enamel which is thinner in pets than in humans and it doesn't heat up so can be used safely well under the gum line where cleaning is so critical. It is this need to clean and check for pockets below the gum line that requires an anaesthetic to perform a dental clean that will benefit your pet.
We also have a full dental unit, the IM3 Elite ( www.IM3vet.co.au), similar to that in human dentistry, with suction, polishing handpiece, water/air spray and high speed handpiece with LED optical lighting. This essential equipment allows us to extract teeth when required with less trauma for a faster less painful recovery.
Standards of care
Many practices focus on their surgery, if separate, but at East Coast Bays we put as much care into our non sterile procedure room for the anaesthetic safety of dentistry patients. These procedures can take significant time if extractions are required and are often in the elderly. Our dental patients have access to the same high end wireless patient anaesthetic monitoring system, the PC Vetguard+ with capnography and the latest Hotdog Patient Warming Device. A nurse is also dedicated to the care and monitoring of these patients.
Unfortunately almost immediately after an excellent professional cleaning the process of dental plaque and tartar formation restarts. Some form of home care is therefore required to try and maintain dental health especially in those at risk small dog breeds and cats.
As with ourselves the gold standard is daily tooth brushing. For the right small dog this is not as crazy as it sounds and our nurses would be happy to talk you through how you could gradually do this in a practical way. If you have a new puppy this would be a great thing to get them used to early.
The other most useful option is to use a product tested for effectiveness for dental cleaning benefits by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC). The product will have this labelling on its packaging and we are happy to recommend a suitable product for your pet.
Rabbits and Guinea Pigs
Sadly many of these guys are fed mostly on pellets and do not get enough course fibre in their diets to grind down their continuously growing teeth. This results in overgrown teeth or teeth with painful spurs. This often results in poor appetite and weight loss, facial abscesses, weepy eyes and a miserable life.
We have the special equipment required to treat these problems but feeding a diet higher in fibre is preferable. Finding a supply of green edible hay or even grazing grass on the lawn may help.
Lifting the lip on dental disease
- a source of bad breath
- affects the immune system
- can lead to tooth loss
- can be painful
- can worsen other diseases
- is often not treated
- preventative treatment is key
Gum disease is: