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News & Tips from Beverly Animal Natural Health Center
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Happy February….month of love…and dental health. Both should be practiced daily!
As pet owners, we are so fortunate to have unconditional love from our dogs and cats on a daily basis. As humans, it is something that we don’t always take the time to appreciate it. In these hectic times with kids, work and pets, some of us may not often take the time to just relax and spend a few minutes with our pets never mind brush their teeth. BUT….and it’s a big BUT…don’t you want to make the best of what you’ve got?
I recently saw the quote “Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful”. It resonated with me as I juggle work, managing the office, being a wife and a mother of two great girls with passion for soccer, skiing and snowboarding. Didn’t help a whole lot to break my right shoulder while skiing in December. Fortunately, I have a great connection to an awesome orthopedic doctor and a fantastic staff that have helped me be efficient and sure does help to be ambidextrous!
In dealing with our pet’s health, there are certainly things we can control and other things that, well, come on by surprise. I am not a control freak (not all the time!) and I see plenty of instances where we can definitely control things like nutrition, exercise and overall wellness in their environment. Other times, illnesses and other natural aging conditions can throw a wrench into our plans.
Pet dental care is one of the things we can control and is quite simple in most cases. One needs to just think of our dental care. It sure is a lot better than it was for people even just twenty to thirty years ago. With advancements and education in human dental care, there are now eighty year olds that have teeth vs dentures! Our kids have beautiful smiles and are healthier with oral health care.
Think of a pet and how important their mouth is. Not only do they eat with it but they also use it to groom, pick up things, and play. A healthy mouth is so helpful to a healthy body. Home dental care is brushing your pet’s teeth daily. I say it’s similar to teaching a young child to brush. Paste with taste and make it fun! Yes, there are some pets that may not be compliant but starting young and using some simple tips can really make a difference.
I find that “treating” the pet with a small bit of toothpaste gets them to accept it more readily. Once they accept it, I find gently holding the mouth in a closed position is easiest for them to accept. The teeth are more like scissors so focusing on the sides of the teeth is the most helpful. Periodically, owners should lift the lip to make sure they are getting to all the teeth. Teeth should be brushed daily!
Part of taking care of your pets teeth involves a professional evaluation by us just as you would go see your dentist. Sadly, periodontal disease is extremely prevalent in all our pets. Certain breeds, especially small dogs are even more prone. Little dogs that bark a lot often have “dry mouths” that can cause even more tartar buildup.
The excellent news is that periodontal disease is a treatable condition! Our “dentals” are Complete Oral Health Care Assessment and Treatments, otherwise known as COHATS. The COHAT starts with an exam and bloodwork to make sure the patient is ready for the general anesthesia procedure. General anesthesia is necessary and safety and monitoring is key. Once under anesthesia, each tooth is evaluated visually as well as with full mouth radiographs. I can’t emphasize how critical this is to the patient. Half the tooth is under the gumline and a significant portion of our pet’s oral diseases happen below the gumline.
We have a digital dental radiography system that is super efficient and gives us amazing detail as to the health of each tooth. Diseased teeth are most commonly treated with extraction. Our pets need pain free mouth, not teeth.
In a perfect world, out pets would brush their own teeth but they can’t! So it is our obligation as healthcare professionals to educate our clients about it and do an outstanding job in our COHATS. Unfortunately, many veterinarians are not equipped to do dental radiology so their “price” of dentals is much less. However, the “cost” to you and your pet for evaluating just the crown is very high.
There is an excellent website www.toothvet.ca that is written by Dr Frasier Hale, an amazing passionate veterinary dentist. The wealth of information and the passion that he brings to pet oral care is amazing!
I would encourage every owner to try to brush their pet’s teeth. Think about your own oral health and your commitment to it. Makes sense…You wouldn’t think to not brush your teeth for say a month until you get your hair done? Don’t pay for a groomer to brush you pet’s teeth! Do it yourself. You would think it odd to go to a dentist that never takes dental X-rays. Ask questions about procedures, outcomes and options. We notice a difference and enjoy examining our patients that have good oral health care. We have more clients that brush now then we ever did before. We talk about it. Make it happen.
Come by the offie and pick up one of our delicious toothpastes. We offer Petsmiles London Broil and CET Chicken flavored.
The final chapter of so many pets have taken place in the last few months here at BANHC. As always, we publish a list of the pets that have died. Most of the pets have passed here at the clinic as a “euthanasia”. Euthanasia means “good death”.
Many times, clients worry that it is a dreaded part of our job. If “good deaths” did not exist for my beloved dogs and cats, I don’t think I could practice no matter how many cute puppies and kittens I saw. The peaceful last breath surrounded by loved ones, the stories of rescue and curious habits. The families that show emotions that are often tucked away in the day to day life. We appreciate being able to guide families and loved ones in the final treatments. And our hearts are full with memories of all the wonderful animals that have been part of our days.
In Memory of our beloved pets that have passed: In Memoriam