According to the American Veterinary Dental Society more than 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats develop gum disease by the age of three years. Periodontal disease is the most common dental condition affecting dogs and cats. The problem begins when plaque and calculus (tartar) are allowed to build up on a pet's teeth, especially below the gumline. This can cause infection and inflammation of the gums. Most owners will notice bad breath, bleeding and swollen gums. Receding gums, and the eventual loss of teeth can happen. As bacterial growth continues to increase, the bacteria may enter the bloodstream. Infection of the heart valves (endocarditis), liver, and kidneys are possible. It is important to have routine dental cleaning. Our veterinarians recommend regularly brushing your pet's teeth with a toothpaste formulated for animals to help reduce the bacteria. Diet is also important in keeping teeth healthy. There are now diets formulated to help reduce plaque and tarter.
Brushing your pets teeth will remove plaque but it does not remove tartar. If your dog or cat develops tartar, it is necessary to have a dental cleaning. This professional veterinary dental cleaning is often called a prophylaxis or "prophy." Once the tartar is removed, it is recommended to follow up with routine dental care at home.
What you need to know for your dog/cats dental cleaning:
- Pre-Anesthetic Bloodwork - Prior to Anesthetizing your dog/cat we at Eagle Animal Hospital recommend bloodwork to check to see if your pet is healthy enough for anesthesia. This test will tell us if the kidneys and liver are functioning properly. It will also tell us if your pet may have an infection, anemia, or a clotting problem.
- Fasting - Before your pet's dental procedure we recommend that no food be given after 8 PM the night before. Water can remain out until the morning of the dental.
- Drop off - Drop off on the morning of your pets dental is between 7:30 - 8:00 AM.
- IV catheter/fluids - The Dr will then do a thorough exam on him/her to identify any potential problems. If your pet is ill the Dr. will contact you and decide how to proceed. If he/she appears in good health then we will put in an IV catheter. This catheter allows us to administer fluids to your pet throughout their procedure. These fluids help to maintain healthy blood pressure and heart rate during anesthesia, as well as help your pet metabolize their medications to allow for a quicker recovery.
- Monitoring - All our patients have a technician whose job is to monitor their vital signs during their procedure. Anesthetized patients are maintained with continuous blood pressure, EKG, and respiratory monitors to be sure they are safe under anesthesia.
- Discharge - When your pet goes home from the hospital, try to allow him/her to take it easy for the rest of the evening. It is important to watch for any signs of complications that may arise following the dental. He/she may be a bit tired for the next 12-24 hours, this is normal. He/she should continue to make steady improvement back to normal activity. If you feel that he/she is not, please call our office. Feed only a small amount of food the evening after his/her procedure. If he/she has had any extractions, you may notice a small amount of blood tinged saliva for a day or two. If you feel that it does not resolve, or if you notice increased blood, pain, or other discharge, please call our office. Please, give all medications prescribed.
- Dental recheck - Two weeks after the dental we will schedule an appointment to do a dental recheck. At this recheck we will discuss options for your pet's home dental health care and to help you get started and we will give you one free product.
Please, call us at Eagle Animal Hospital (610) 458-8789 to schedule a dental exam with on of our veterinarians. We serve Chester Springs, Downingtown, Glenmoore, Exton and the surrounding area.
Written by Harriet Band, receptionist