Dental Care For Your Pet-February 2018

Dental Care For Your Pet

Have you noticed your pet’s pearly whites are covered by tartar and plaque?  Has their breath been smelly when they give you kisses?  Caring for your pet’s teeth is a critical part of their wellness. Plaque and tartar carry bacteria that can enter your pet’s bloodstream and cause heart, lung, and kidney disease.  Everyday we brush our own teeth, but what about our pets?  They could really use our help to keep those pearly whites pearly.  Developing regular tooth brushing routines and preventative care will help to prevent periodontal issues in the future, saving you money as well the stress of major periodontal problems your pet could encounter.

Image result for brushing your pets teethBrushing Your Pet’s Teeth

We recommend brushing your pet’s teeth daily as the best way to prevent the buildup of tartar, as well as inflammation of the gums.  However, any teeth brushing that you are able to do at all will make a difference.  The physical motion of the bristles over your pet’s teeth helps disturb bacterial film that forms on the teeth.  When you brush your pet’s teeth, concentrate on the surface of the the teeth that contact the cheek.  If you finish the surfaces that touch the cheek, you can then try to cover the other three surfaces of the tooth.  Don’t worry if you’re not able to clean all four surfaces of the tooth as the majority of tartar builds up on the cheek (buccal) surface.  

You need to be sure to use a dog or cat specific toothpaste.  Never use a human toothpaste as swallowing this can harm your pet.  There are a variety of toothbrush options, including a finger brush or a soft bristle human toothbrush.  Image result for brushing teeth cat teeth

Don’t worry if you’ve never brushed your pets teeth before. It’s never too late to start!  It is most helpful to get a young animal used to having his/her mouth and teeth handled with frequent short sessions and positive reinforcement.  If your pet is not a puppy or kitten, then the same principles can be used especially with the help of a fun reward that follows.  Keeping a tooth brushing session short and sweet with an activity afterwards that your pet enjoys such as a walk or a healthy treat is very helpful to the learning process.  We are always happy to over the tooth brushing process with you, or refer you to helpful videos such as this one:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wB3GIAgrTPE

While you are brushing your pet’s teeth, please keep an eye out for teeth that are loose, broken, or painful.  Take a look also at your pet’s gums to see if there is any swelling, bleeding, or masses.  Note if your pet may also have any appetite loss, dropping of food from his/her mouth, and unusual chewing or drooling.  Pay attention to any attitude changes your pet may have, as irritability can be a sign of oral discomfort.  Any of the above observations mean that your pet needs to have an oral exam by your veterinarian.  It is important to address these issues early so that they can be nipped in the bud.

Professional Dental Cleanings

The American Animal Hospital Association recommends that your pet’s teeth be professionally cleaned annually beginning at one year old for cats and small dogs and starting at two years for large breed Image result for veterinary dog teeth cleaningdogs.  In preparation for a professional cleaning, your pet will have pre-anesthetic bloodwork performed to be sure that he/she is a safe candidate for anesthesia.  Your pet will be sedated, intubated, and carefully monitored under anesthesia for the procedure.  During this time, your veterinarian is able to do a complete oral exam looking for periodontal disease and oral tumors.  Since we are only able to do a brief oral exam in most awake patients, this is the best time for your pets whole mouth to be examined. Scaling is performed to remove plaque and tartar from above and below the gumline, which is very important to the health of your pets’ teeth. Scaling is followed by polishing with paste that smooths over the enamel surfaces.  Fluoride or another type of barrier sealant is then applied to all surfaces of the teeth that act to repel plaque.  

Image result for oravet chewsDental Chews, Treats, and Toys

While frequent tooth brushing is the best way to prevent and remove the buildup of plaque and tartar, dental specific treats and toys can be a helpful adjunct to regular tooth brushing.  One thing to keep in mind is that a dental chew will not clean all four surfaces of the teeth due to the way pets chew.  This means that just the incisal surface of a tooth is cleaned, rather than the part of the tooth nearest the gums where plaque and tartar are most likely to accumulate.  Treats that have the Veterinary Oral Health Council have met quality standards for removal of plaque and reducing tartar. Monitor your pet to ensure that they are actually chewing the dental chew or treat in order to receive the most benefit. As always, please use caution when giving your pets treats and chews to ensure that they do not choke or swallow these chews whole.  Never give your pets bones, cow hooves, pig ears, plastic bottles, antlers, or rawhides.  

Image result for oratene water additiveWater Additives, Rinses, and Sprays

Water additives, rinses, and sprays help to reduce the bacterial load in a pet’s mouth.  Oratene and AquaDent are examples of water additive products that act as safe to swallow mouth washes.  Oral rinses like DentaHex can sprayed over your pet’s teeth daily to also help keep bacterial numbers down.  We also offer Leba-III spray that can help the healthy bacterial balance in the mouth.  

Foods to Promote Dental CareImage result for hill's t/d feline

Dry foods have more abrasive activity on the teeth than canned food to help remove tartar and plaque.  Dry foods are also less likely to get packed in between the teeth and in the gingival (gum) crevices.  Plaque and tartar will still accumulate on teeth in spite of feeding your pet a dry diet even a dental diet.  Always keep in mind that a dental diet does not replace regular teeth brushing.  Some dental diets include Canine and Feline t/d and Science Diet Oral Care and Eukanuba Dental Defense Diet.Here is a link that provides a list of dental diets:

http://www.vohc.org/VOHCAcceptedProductsTable_Dogs.pdf

 

Sources:

-AVMA Pet Dental Care

https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/Pet-Dental-Care.aspx

-AAHA Dental Care Guidelines for Dogs and Cats

https://www.aaha.org/pet_owner/about_aaha/why_accreditation_matters/guidelines_position_statements/aaha_dental_care_guidelines_for_dogs_and_cats.aspx

-American Veterinary Dental College

https://www.avdc.org/ownersinfo.html

Hill’s Weight Loss Competition- Free Ipad Mini!

January of 2018 is Weight Loss and Healthy Joints Month at Catlett Animal Hospital

We are holding a weight loss competition with Hill’s Pet Nutrition.

  • You can enter at any of clinics (Compassion Animal Hospital, Catlett Animal Hospital, and Elkwood Animal Hospital).
  • We will have a dog and cat winner. Each pet will win three months of free pet food.
  • For the pet with the most percentage body weight lost, the owner will receive a free ipod mini.

Healthy Joints are what every dog and cat deserve, but unfortunately, as our pets age their joints get more stiff and painful. They also tend to become overweight. This weight loss competition is to help our patients with their mobility issues by lessening the stress on their joints.

We also carry Dasuquin Advanced, Adequan, various pain medications, joint diets and do joint injections to help our patients live happier, more active lives. We love our patients!

Articles on Joint Health:

Overweight pets!

Arthritis and Degenerative joint disease treatments

Health Theme Months for 2018

Health Theme Months for 2018

January: Weight Loss and Healthy Joints
February: Dental Health Month
March: Lyme Awareness
April: Parasite Prevention Month
May: Alleviating Allergies Month
June: Addressing Anxiety Month
July and August: No theme
September: Senior Pet Month (10% Wellness Bloodwork)
October: Dental Health Month
Novemeber: 10% off Microchipping Month
December: Discount on Healthy Treats

Microchip-10% off for the month of November


During the month of November, Catlett Animal Hospital is offerring 10% off Microchipping all dogs and cats!!

Read below for more information..

 

Microchipping your pets

Hundreds of dogs and cats go missing every year. Eventually, they are found and brought to the local animal shelter where volunteers desperately search for the animal’s owner often with little to no success. Along the same lines, owners of lost animals will contact local shelters, put up flyers, and use technology (such as facebook and shelter pages) in hopes that they will find their lost pet. Even with all of this, most pets are never returned to their homes.

You might think that collars and/or identification tags would aid in helping return pets home. This is a false hope however. Sometimes during their time astray, collars and/or tags often slip off. Thankfully, there is a small device that will help aid in identification for lost pets handed into the local shelters: a microhip.

Microchipping is an important element of pet identification. This is a small glass cylinder about the size of a grain of rice that contains a radio transmitter and an electronic device containing the animal’s ID number. This number links to your contact information in an online registry that allows shelters, clinics, veterinarians, and humane organizations to contact you if your lost pet is found. This microchip is not a tracking device that can be used to pinpoint a pet’s exact location. It simply holds a code that is linked to your contact information. This device is injected just under the skin between the shoulder blades similar to any standard injection procedure. However, to accommodate the microchip, it does require a slightly larger needle. This chip will last over 25 years, which is well beyond the lifespan of most pets. According to a 2009 study, it was found that cats with microchips were 20 times more likely to be returned home than cats without, while dogs were 2.5 times more likely to be returned home than those without.

It is important to know that in order for a microchip to work, you will need to register the microchip and keep your contact information up-to-date. These devices are reliable and use nationwide registries, but they depend on the information you provide. Ensure that you continue to update your information and provide multiple emergency contacts. Here at Catlett Animal Hospital we will microchip your pet for a one time 10% discounted fee. Ask any of our receptionists, technicians, and veterinarians for more information: 540-788-6094

October 2017-Dental Month

Dental Disease is Extremely Painful:

10% off all dental cleanings, extractions, and medications for dental procedures!

The most stunning part of most dental procedures is how middle age to older animals act after them. Owners often comment that their pet is “acting like a puppy again” after a dental procedure at our hospital. What most people don’t understand is that dental disease is very painful for animals.

Our pets do a great job of hiding their pain. They cannot tell us with words. So, sometimes they will act grumpy or react when you touch around their mouth, but most of the time, those are the only signs of dental disease that owners will see. This is because animals in the wild are conditioned to hide their pain to survive. There is no doubt however that pets with dental disease suffer.

Most owners believe that their pet acting grumpy as he or she gets older is due to old age. Most of the time, it is due to the pet feeling painful. Pets with dental disease experience pain while eating, drinking, playing, and even at rest. Infection in the mouth causes some of the bodies most sensitive nerve endings to be constantly stimulated. Pets can get headaches from this constant stimulation. Infection is a powerful force in the body. It can spread from the teeth to the jaw and cause the bones in the jaw to disintegrate along with the tooth roots. This will cause permanent damage to the jaw bones making it impossible for the jaw to function properly.

Animals three years old and older need a dental exam once a year. Our goal is to stop the infection before the headaches and destruction of the mouth take place. Once calculus (hardened plaque) has formed on the teeth, it is time for a dental cleaning. By removing this hardened tartar, we take away the bacteria’s hiding place. The bacteria likes to live under this hard shell on the teeth and infect the gum along the gum line. That is the beginning of dental disease. Doing dental cleanings at this stage is very helpful for your pet because they do not have to experience the pain that comes with the infections of the teeth. Please be proactive about this disease. Your pet relies completely on you for his or her health. If you take care of your pets teeth, you will have a happier, healthier pet for many years to come.

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