Ash Veterinary Clinic


February is National Dental Month!

Root canals, dental x-rays, orthodontics, crowns, caps, implants, and periodontal surgery for pets? You must be kidding! Not at all. Dental procedures are performed daily in veterinary practices and taking care of your pet’s teeth at home may be easier than you think. At Ash Veterinary Clinic and Emergency Center, we want to make sure you know how to keep your furry family member’s teeth pearly white and smelling great!

Examination is the key to diagnosis and helps determine the health of your pet’s teeth and mouth. A pet owner can help by examining their pet’s teeth and oral cavity at least monthly. First smell your dog or cat’s breath. If you sense a disagreeable odor, gum disease may be present. Periodontal disease is the most common ailment of small animals. Gum problems begin when bacteria accumulates at the gumline around the tooth. Unless brushed away daily, these bacteria can destroy tooth supporting bone, cause bleeding, and if untreated, cause tooth loss. Usually the first sign is bad breath. Watch your pet for signs of mouth pain. Have you noticed any changes in chewing or eating habits? A pet with good oral health should have no signs of pain or changes in eating or chewing habits, and minimal or no mouth odor. However, if your pet is experiencing frequent pain or refusing to eat, has changed chewing habits, or has moderate to severe mouth odor, then an oral problem may be the cause. When examining your pet’s mouth, look for chips or fractures on the tooth’s surface. Contrary to their popularity, chewing on cow hooves, rocks, bones or other hard materials may break teeth and sadly cause and infection or blockage.

When and if there is a dental issue, take a trip to see us for a complete exam. At Ash Veterinary Clinic, every patient gets and entire exam by the doctor. We also do complimentary exams on every patient on our vaccine clinic which is every Wednesday from 10-4, walk in.

                Unfortunately, most creatures cannot point to dental abnormalities with their paws, so other tests are usually necessary. Sedation and anesthesia are essential for an adequate evaluation. Modern veterinary medicine, such as ours, offers a wide array of safe and effective anesthetics. Our fully licensed technicians are the individuals who directly aid the doctor for all procedures that require anesthesia. We use our monitoring equipment to ensure the pet is safe while the doctor does an in-depth evaluation when your pet is sleeping to help determine which teeth have disease.  

                When your pet is under anesthesia, your veterinarian will use a periodontal probe. When dogs or cats are affected by periodontal disease, the probe will help the doctor identify diseased teeth or gums. Unfortunately by the time some pets come in for dental care, it is too late to save all of the teeth. Preventative care and periodic checkups should help slow down the loss of additional teeth. Your veterinarian may also take x-rays of abnormal dental conditions. X-rays show the inside of the tooth, just like in humans, below the gum line. Many decisions are based on x-ray findings and then tell you what needs to be done.

Dogs, cats and other pets do not have to suffer the pain and discomfort of untreated broken or loose teeth and infected gums. When you are considering having teeth looked at, cleaned and/or extracted, this is a perfect opportunity to discuss dent issues and costs. This service is one you should ask your veterinarian about and get to know what standards they use during this procedure. The main things to look at is if the doctors and licensed technician are the only ones monitoring anesthesia or are assistants? Do they recommend a blood screen and IV catheter to be placed to make the process safer? These things are the most important to shop on and beware that a drastic difference in cost usually is a result of keeping costs down by not running blood screens, not placing IV catheters or not having the ability to take dental x-rays. Also, lowering cost may exclude the doctor evaluating the teeth before and after the cleaning with the technician who is licensed and trained, rather than an assistant. You should ask any animal hospital the above questions to get a real estimate of a dental procedure.

February is National Pet Dental Month and many veterinary clinics offer a discount for pets receiving services in this month. This is a great time to have your veterinary present a detailed treatment plan for your pet, not just any pet. Also, don’t forget if you are price shopping this service, you really need to have the exact services, line by line, to compare. On the other hand, if you want a direct exam of your pet’s mouth and teeth, you can call us at 734-782-2827 to schedule a free exam! We at Ash Veterinary Clinic and Emergency Center would love to help you get your pet’s stinky breath more fresh and healthy too!

[4:06:25 PM] Dianne Raftopoulos: