Your pet's dental health is an important part of his overall health. According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have oral disease by the age of 3. It is the most frequently diagnosed health problem in pets. Dental disease is an often unrecognized source of pain in pets.
Common signs of oral disease include:
- Tartar buildup
- Red and swollen gums
- Bad breath
- Changes in eating or chewing habits
- Pawing at the face
- Generalized depression.
Dental disease causes pain and can affect other organs in the body: bacteria in the mouth can get into the blood stream and may cause serious kidney infections, liver disease, lung disease, and heart valve disease. Oral disease can also indicate that another disease process is occurring elsewhere in a pet’s body. A thorough physical exam combined with appropriate laboratory work can determine if this is the case.
The American Animal Hospital Association recommends regular oral examinations and dental cleanings, under general anesthesia, for all adult dogs and cats. A veterinarian should evaluate your pet’s dental health at least once a year. This is recommended because bacteria and food debris accumulates around a pet’s teeth and, if left unchecked, will lead to deterioration of the soft tissue and bone surrounding the teeth. This decay results in irreversible periodontal disease and even tooth loss. We can recommend and demonstrate preventative measures you can begin at home. Our wellness program emphasizes and explains how you can avoid costly dental procedures with your pet in the future.
Any pet undergoing anesthesia at Novak Animal Care Center will receive a pre-operative blood test to screen for any disorders that may affect your pets liver and kidney functions prior to anesthesia. Your pet will also receive fluids intravenously to help maintain blood pressure, speed recovery, and administer intravenous emergency lifesaving medications, if necessary. Maintaining your pet’s body temperature is also very important during surgery and a warming unit is placed on them. This allows warm air to contact the patient to help regulate their body temperature.
Dentistry can cause some discomfort to your pet’s mouth, especially if extractions are necessary. The veterinarians at Novak Animal Care Center recognize and understand the importance of managing a pet’s pain and are very involved in providing up to date techniques to help keep your pet comfortable the day of the dental. Your pet will receive pain medication prior to, during, and after dental procedures in the form of injections, local anesthetic blocks, and a constant rate infusion of pain medication in your pet’s intravenous fluids. Each pain management protocol is tailored to the needs of your pet. When your pet goes home after a dental, often they may require pain medication that will be sent home for you to continue to administer during her recovery period.
For more information about dental care for your pet, including helpful documents on brushing your pet's teeth and dental diets, visit our Pet Dental Care page.