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Dental Care 

Dental disease is very common in dogs over the age of 3 years and can cause discomfort and pain. All foods leave some plaque behind, which, if not removed by brushing will allow the formation of tartar. This allows bacterial ingress into the gums with subsequent gingivitis (infected gums) and possible periodontitis.  Dental care is not only for maintaining teeth in good condition but also preventing bacteria from spreading from infected gums to other vital organs and causing earlier deterioration and possibly, ultimately, the pet’s death. A good example is a heart murmur where bacteria spread from the infected gums via the blood (bacteraemia) and localises on the heart valves causing a condition called endocardiosis (thickening of the valve), which then causes a heart murmur. Such spread can occur to the brain (causing damage to blood vessels), eyes (possibly causing eyesight problems) or to the kidney (where damage occurs and possibly the start of kidney failure).

One needs to start brushing teeth from the puppy or kitten stage with a toothbrush. Daily brushing of your pets’ teeth is the best – it’s no different to humans! Pet toothpaste is either chicken, beef or malt flavoured and as such, may make the task a little easier. We stock dental kits (toothbrush and toothpaste) at all of our surgeries.

Those pets that will not allow tooth brushing (often the older pets), then there is a special gel that will help in slowing down calculus accumulation. A further aid in controlling dental calculus is the use of a specific dental diet (these are special diets that contain enzymes and have an abrasive action of the teeth). These are clinical diets and should be discussed with a vet or nurse. The use of appropriate chews and toys can be helpful.

Regular checks with either a vet or nurse will ensure that your pet’s oral health is well maintained. Most pets require dental treatment in the form of a teeth scale and polish every 18-24 months. If any loose or diseased teeth are encountered they may have to be extracted.

All pets will require general anaesthesia for veterinary dental treatment. These procedures generally are on a day-release basis. They are admitted by a vet or nurse in the morning and the treatment is carried out after all our clean procedures (such as spays, castrates, tumor removals, etc) have been completed as we do not want cross-contamination from an infected mouth. Your pet is discharged by one of our veterinary nurses in the late afternoon or evening.

If you would like a free veterinary nurse appointment to have your pet’s teeth checked please contact any of our surgeries.

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