Lexington Animal Hospital is celebrating National Dental Health Month a month early with 15% discounts on Canine and Feline Dental Cleanings!
Dental health is just as important for pets as it is for humans. Unlike us humans, most dogs and cats do not brush and floss their teeth, or use mouth wash daily. Moreover, most owners can attest to the challenge of trying to examine their pets’ teeth and mouths at home. As a result, an animal’s mouth can have significant gum and tooth diseases that goes unnoticed for many months.
As part of our annual comprehensive health examinations, Dr. Mollie and I strive to thoroughly evaluate our patients’ teeth and gums for signs of disease. Based on these exams, we can recommend patient-tailored options for home preventative care, such as tooth brushing, mouth rinses, dental chews, as well as discuss when a pet needs a dental cleaning, dental x-rays, or even oral surgery to remove infected, painful teeth.
My Passion for Oral Health
Ever since my own dog Finn fractured two teeth after chewing on inappropriate chews, I have become passionate about promoting oral health and finding safer chewing options for my pets and patients. After a year of chewing on deer antlers, I noticed that Finn’s breath smelled very bad, he seemed more lethargic, and did not want to play with his toys or brother as much. When I examined his mouth, I found that two of his big cheek teeth (carnassials) had cracked with the pulp (inside of the tooth) exposed. His gums around these teeth were inflamed and infected. Within 1 week of removing these painful teeth, Finn was back to chasing his toys and wrestling with his brother Gil. He has not missed these teeth at all.
After my experience with Finn’s mouth, I started to attend more veterinary continuing education courses on dental health. In January 2012, I attended an intensive course at the Animal Dental Training Center in Baltimore, MD on oral surgery, pathology and radiology, and have continued to learn more about pet oral health with annual conferences and conventions.
Dental Chews and Safe Toys
It can be challenging to find edible dental chews and resilient toys that can promote oral health. A toy needs to be resilient against aggressive chewers. However, if the toy does not have any flexibility, the teeth are at risk for breaking. Chewing on hard nylon, antlers, and natural bones may help keep the teeth cleaner, but it will break them in the process. We recommend the knee cap rule: if you would not want me to hit you in the knee cap with it, don’t let your dogs chew on it.
Since 1991, the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC), a group of veterinary dentists, has evaluated a number of products for their safety and efficacy in promoting oral health by reducing tartar and plaque. We recommend products that have been stamped with the VOHC seal of approval ( http://www.vohc.org/all_
Lexington Animal Hospital Dental Cleaning Package
As part of our dental package, we will perform a pre-surgical examination, run a pre-anesthetic blood panel, administer pre-anesthetic pain medications, IV fluids, and IV antibiotics through an IV catheter, and clean & polish your pets with an ultrasonic dental scaler. We will also inspect each tooth and surrounding gums for signs of infection, inflammation, and pain. If we are concerned about a particular tooth, we will call you with recommendations for that tooth. All pets will go home with antibiotics to prevent any dislodged bacteria from causing infection in elsewhere in the body. If any teeth are removed, your pet will also go home with specialized diet recommendations and pain medications.
Please feel free to ask us any questions regarding your pet’s oral health or call the office to schedule an examination. We hope to help you keep your pet’s mouth healthy and your pet happy in 2018!
Dr. Meghan Ryan