Thursday, February 21, 2008

Dental Disease

The previous post on the safety of anesthesia was a direct response to yet another client who absolutely refused to let me clean her dog’s teeth. I can only imagine the pain these animals must be in. I would love to talk about prevention, but let’s be honest, most people are not going to brush their dog’s teeth. I’m lucky to get them to agree to a treat or toy that scrapes the film that develops over time. I would like to spend this blog on why you should keep your pet’s mouth healthy.

I do feel we need to spend some time on prevention. Brushing is the best way to avoid tartar buildup. However, they make tons of treats and toys, available for very little money, available at any pet store or veterinary office. I really like the nylon strand toys that scrape the teeth each time the dog bites into them. ( I get no money from them). If you’re going brush your dog’s teeth, it’s best to do it before a meal (as it is for us, we’ve been told wrong all these years

Ok, on to why your pet’s dental health is so important. Check out the human advice: All that stuff goes for your pet as well. And only 35% of pets with grade 2 dental disease and 15% of pet with grade 1 dental disease get treated. Those are the two worst grades, but still only 50% of pets with dental disease get treated! And, the consequences are profound: increase risk of cardiac disease, pneumonia. Most cats with diabetes have dental disease (cause and/or effect?) In a 2006 study by IDEXX ( a maker of in-house blood tests for the veterinary profession found that 14% of cats with retroviral disease had oral cavity infections, compared with 3% who were virus negative. Could a bad mouth be the first sign of something serious?

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