Pet Dental Care
Pets have teeth too! Like humans, the health of their teeth and gums has a significant impact on their overall health and quality of life. Imagine how your mouth would feel and taste (and smell!) if you didn’t clean your teeth regularly. Imagine having a really bad toothache and not being able to tell anyone about it. Our pets feel pain just like we do, but are not always very good at telling us when they are uncomfortable or sore.
In most cases, owners are unaware that there is a problem, not because they don’t care about their pets, but because these problems are hidden away in the mouth. Most animals will continue to eat despite advanced disease, with bad breath and subtle behavioural changes the only hints until the pain becomes unbearable. Drooling, dropping food and reluctance to eat or be handled around the face may then become more obvious signs that something is wrong. Unfortunately for our pets, it may take years for such signs to develop.
Our skilled staff at Gordon Vet Hospital are educated and equipped to recognise and treat dental disease, including problems that are frequently overlooked. If you are concerned and recognise some of the signs of dental disease our vets at Gordon Vet Hospital can help make sure problems are caught early to avoid advanced disease. We also use modern dental x-ray equipment which ensures we accurately identify problems. We can all work together to help achieve a pain-free mouth for every pet.
How do I know if my pet has dental disease?
Signs that your pet might be in need of a dental care might include any combination of bad breath, reluctance or difficulty chewing, chewing on one side, drooling, decreased appetite, face rubbing or pawing, reluctance to be handled around the mouth, or swelling around the face. Inside the mouth you may see red, swollen or bleeding gums, tartar accumulation, broken teeth, discoloured teeth, worn down teeth, crowded teeth, loose teeth, or ulcers.
If you suspect a problem, it’s best to arrange a dental check for your pet with one of our veterinarians. It’s also worth keeping in mind that animals don’t always tell us when they are uncomfortable, so regular check ups are recommended whether you have noticed any changes or not.
Is dental treatment painful for pets?
While procedures such as dental cleaning and polishing are generally not uncomfortable (most of us have experienced this at our own dentist), treatment of periodontal disease, extraction of teeth and advanced treatments can cause pain for our patients.
All procedures are carried out under a general anaesthetic so your pet is not aware of and cannot feel what is happening. We minimise any postoperative discomfort by using an integrated pain management approach, which includes preoperative pain medication, local anaesthetic nerve blocks (just like human dentists!) and, if required, pain medication to take home after the operation.
The majority of pets will be eating within several hours of recovery. In fact, most of our patients have been in acute or chronic pain prior to seeing us and rapidly feel much more comfortable once they have received appropriate treatment.
What can I do to keep my pets teeth clean?
Spending a few minutes a day caring for your pet’s teeth can improve your pet’s health, improve their breath, make them more comfortable and save you money on treatment. Just like us, pets benefit from having their teeth brushed! Brushing once daily is the minimum recommendation to help remove plaque and prevent tartar accumulation. The aim is to prevent periodontal disease which is caused by plaque bacteria that accumulate on the teeth, causing inflammation, infection and damage to the sensitive oral tissues. Home care programs are targeted at slowing down plaque accumulation, preventing mineralisation (hardening) of plaque to form calculus and thus slowing down disease progression.
Want more information on dental disease?
It is hard to give a proper idea of dental disease and treatment on one web page, particularly as the treatments will vary dramatically for different patients. Give us a call on 94983000 or make an appointment here to bring your pet down for a physical examination and dental check so we can discuss the options together.