Dental disease - not just a pain for your pet

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Bakers Hill Veterinary Hospital
4609 Great Eastern Highway
Bakers Hill
WA 6562

08 9574 1061

It strikes me that I have been doing a lot of major dentals again lately. In other words dentals where we end up taking out numerous teeth, often leading to surgeries lasting as long as 4 or even 5 hours! 

Dental DogNow don't get me wrong, despite the fact that this is very physical and hard work (probably one of the most physical things a vet would ever do), it is usually extremely rewarding afterwards as these pets become almost different personalities with all that dental pain gone! In fact this is how my love for dentistry started, when I gave a number of cats at the Animal Protection Society (where I worked once a week) their lives back by removing their dental pain. It was a life changing experience - to them and to me! Since then I have continued to do many dentals in private practice also, and it still astounds me what a difference an appropriate dental can make to an animals life!

But how does it get to that point where a pet requires a major dental and not just a simple clean? That is a good question, and personally I do blame our profession for this. It is my opinion that dental disease was and in some cases still is one of the most poorly recognised and therefore underdiagnosed diseases that our pets get. And at first it seems that there is not much harm in "missing" an early diagnosis as our pets don't seem to be in pain and the teeth don't look too bad the next time we see them... However ALL dental disease starts somewhere and ALL dental disease progresses, I just cannot tell you how fast it will progress in your pet. But when I have to take out multiple teeth in an anaesthetic that lasts several hours in a pet which is now potentially quite old and therefore carries a much higher anaesthetic risk (especially for such a long procedure) and costing the owner a small fortune, I cant help thinking how good it would have been for this pet and this owner if this disease had been recognised and explained to them much earlier on - when intervention was still simple, safe, and quite affordable.

But 4 or 5 hours sounds so drastic! Yes it does, but bear in mind that these teeth are all decayed in one way or another extremely painful to your pet (even if they don't show it) and the teeth will not get any better! So in pets we take the approach that these teeth are better out than in, and an average multi-root tooth takes about 15 to 20 minutes to extract. It very quickly adds up.

So what can you do? Simple! Make sure you are seeing a vet that recognises this disease, make sure your pet sees them at least once a year, and try to act on any signs of dental disease early!

It is Dental Month this month and most vet practices will be focusing on this important disease. At Bakers Hill Vet Hospital we want to make it easier for you to do something for your pet if they are suffering from this disease. Remember around 80% of dogs and 70% of cats over the age of 3 fall into this category! Read more about what we are offering here

Keep smiling everyone!

Let the Vet

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