The Role of Dental Caretaker at Home

February has been designated as Pet Dental Month now for fifteen years with the goal of helping people become aware of how important dental care is in our dogs. Most people are aware of the need for dental care now, yet there are still a number of animals that silently suffer silently in pain from gum disease and abscessed teeth.

Why ?

Part of the problem lays with veterinarians.
Part of the problem lays with pet care at home

Marketing Deception

There is an upsurge in marketing-chews, water additives, special diets, and trying to brush pet’s teeth has been marketed to prevent dental disease in the last 20 years. New products are advanced daily, proclaiming to be better than any previous to it. Do we really believe if we simply use this product that our pets will not have dental disease? Honestly, we know better, but are looking for an easier way to fix the problem. While many of these products help manage dental disease, they are not a replacement for professional veterinary care.

Pain? What pain?

Pain is poorly recognized in our pets and they must suffer silently. Dental pain starts subtly, slowly increasing over time. Our dogs rarely vocalize this type of pain but adapt and live with the pain.They learn to chew the kibble on the other side of the mouth which isn’t painful. Sometimes they turn their head to oblique the pain away from a normal bite angle. When pain becomes severe, they quit eating. Then we notice! Unfortunately, at that time you must know that your dog has been suffering in pain for a long, long time.

The greatest fear- Anesthesia

Is anesthesia a true risk that one should be afraid to encounter? While we would never make light of the that fact that anesthesia has risk, with today’s anesthetics and delivery systems, proper anesthesia has minimal risk. It is not unusual to routinely provide dental care for older patients that have heart disease, kidney disease, and many other health issues or risks. We routinely provide dental care for dogs that are 13,14,and 15 years of age. These are the things which arise for your pet when fear becomes the guiding factor.

Suffering from mouth pain98.00%
Abscessed teeth and pain95.00%
Infected gums and structural loss of bone98.00%
Liver, Heart, and Kidney Damage from mouth infections> 50.00%
Pathologic fracture of jaws5.00%
Anesthetic Complications 1,2 (Owner preceived long recovery)0.75%
Anesthesic death 20.06%%

1 Anesthetic complications is the owners’ perception that the pet did not act normally for a prolonged period, generally longer than 6 hours after returning home.
2 Anesthetic complication and death is hospital statistic for Cornerstone Animal Hospital alone, based on our hospital anesthetic protocol.ap This may vary with other veterinary hospitals.

ap Anesthestic protocol at Cornerstone Animal Hospital( for your information)

  1. Every patient has a pre-anesthesia evaluation prior to anesthesia.
  2. Pre-anesthesia laboratory evaluation is recommened to help identfy unknown problems (Required for aged and high risk patients)
  3. Pre-anesthesia communications of the patient status and risk factors between all team members involved.
  4. Calculations of emergency drugs for every case prior to any anesthesia.
  5. Use of monitoring equipment is recommended to help detect changes in blood pressure, carbon dioxide, oxygen, temperature, heart rate and respiratory rate. (Required for aged and high risk patient)
  6. Every patient is assigned to a technician; their sole duty is to monitor the patient from the time the patient anesthesia is begun through to recovery. Written records of vitals are kept.
  7. Patient is monitored and observed for normal recovery and pain medication is given when patient requires it.
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