August and September are Dental Health Months at Kew Vet & Cattery, Hawthorn East Vet and Alphington & Fairfield Vet, so what better time to talk about preventative dental care!
Dental disease is one of the most common and overlooked conditions in pets and can significantly affect the overall health and well being of an animal. Dental health should therefore be checked at least once a year by your veterinarian to ensure their mouths stay healthy.
Firstly, our trained teamed will gather some information on signs of dental disease that you may have observed at home, as well as previous dental work, and what you are feeding.
Your vet will inspect your pet’s mouth and grade their teeth. Dental disease is graded on a 4 point scale and a grade 2 or higher will require dental work.
Signs of dental disease
- Bad breath
- Broken or loose teeth
- Extra teeth or retained baby teeth
- Teeth that are discoloured or covered in tartar
- Abnormal chewing, drooling, or dropping food from the mouth
- Reduced appetite or refusal to eat
- Pain in or around the mouth
- Bleeding from the mouth
- Swelling in the areas surrounding the mouth.
As eating is a survival mechanism, a lot of animals will become silent sufferers and continue to eat in the face of dental disease, so it is always worthwhile to have a dental check even if there are no overt symptoms.
Dental procedures under anaesthetic
It is impossible to get a good view of your pets oral health and perform dental work without an anaesthetic.
This not only allows us to proceed with less stress and pain for your pet but also allows for better cleaning (beneath the gums), prevents any injury from equipment that may result from your pet moving around during the procedure and allows us to take high quality dental x-rays to ensure we get a full picture of your pets oral health. A full examination is performed including a comprehensive blood test to ensure your pet is a suitable candidate for an anaesthetic prior to proceeding. The benefits of maintaining good oral health under an anaesthetic far outweighs the risks.
Home Dental Care
Just like our own teeth, good dental health in your pet requires ongoing management. There are many strategies available to slow down the development of plaque and tartar. These include special diets, dental chews and tooth-brushing. We can recommend these based on your lifestyle and routine as well as your individual pet’s requirements.
If you do have any concerns about your pet’s oral health, bring them down to one of our clinics and our trained staff will be able to help you identify and address any problems. Ask us about our special Dental Health Month promotions during August and September.
Dr Ronny Rao BVSc
Before and after photos of a dental scale and polish