Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Doggie Dentistry

by Maggie Sefton

Yes, you read that right.  Dentistry for dogs.  Last week, my Border Collie/Black Lab Katy went in for her annual dental cleaning at the vet's office.  Photos at top and in middle are Katy.  Dental cleaning is a procedure that many vets perform on a regular basis for their doggie patients because most dogs will not allow their owners to brush their teeth.  None of my dogs would allow it, no matter how hard I tried.  My sweet Rottie Carl wanted to eat the toothbrush.  Of course, Carl would eat practically anything, so it wasn't surprising.

Katy refused to open her mouth.  Really.  She'd clamp those jaws tight and you couldn't pry them open.  Katy would do the same thing at the vets for her annual exam.  The vet & I were laughing so hard.  But Border Collies are scary smart, so she knew how to out smart us.   Hence, teeth cleaning procedures.  The procedure is done under anesthesia and is VERY thorough, removing plaque and taking X-rays, checking for cracked or damaged teeth, removing problem teeth if necessary, and of course getting the teeth completely clean.  Like surgery, the doggies can have no food 12 hours before and with recovery it takes all day.  And. . .its not cheap.  But, I look at it as a necessary part of keeping my dogs healthy, because dental disease can cause all sorts of problems in dogs as in humans.

 I discovered that years ago when Carl, suddenly one day, turned away from his food.  Shocked, I tried to hand feed him.  He turned away.  So I took him to the vet.  Dr. Mulnix was an old experienced vet, who checked Carl thoroughly and couldnt find anything wrong. He wasn't sick.  Then, the doc said, "Let's take a look at those teeth.". That was it.  Two loose and diseased molars
were causing so much pain, poor Carl couldn't eat.  He went into surgery that day.  And had a GREAT appetite afterwards.  I became a more vigilant pet owner from that day on.

Oh, yes, Blue Tick Hound Max, pictured here.  Max wanted to chew the tooth brush. Max loves to chew.   Anything---bones, sticks, tree limbs, you name it and he likes to chew it.  So the tooth brushing was definitely a no-go.  Here, Max is sitting alone, posing, with his Innocent Look.  Obviously hoping that vet tech with the thermometer won't be able to do anything since he's sitting down---on the part of his anatomy the vet tech is aiming for.  :)

Some of you may already be familiar with  providing  for your dog's dental health.