Does your pet need a dental checkup? The answer is most likely yes! According to the American Veterinary Dental Society 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show signs of dental disease. Routine dental cleanings are just as important as regular physical exams. February is National Pet Dental Health Month and the perfect time to have your pet’s teeth assessed. Early detection of dental disease is key!
Your Pet's Teeth
Dental health is an important part of your pet’s overall health. Compromised dental health can affect your pet’s longevity and quality of life. Untreated dental disease can lead to other problems such as liver disease, kidney disease and heart complications. Did you know that certain breeds of dogs have a higher incidence of dental disease? These include yorkie’s, poodles, dachshunds, pugs and other brachycephalic breeds.
Look for signs of dental disease at home:
-bad odor -red, inflamed gums
-broken or loose teeth -trouble chewing
-discolored teeth/tartar buildup -excessive drooling
Professional Dental Procedures
Dental exams should be preformed by your veterinarian at least once per year. During the oral exam your veterinarian will check for broken or missing teeth, periodontal disease, infection, tumors and other defects. After the exam your vet will make recommendations based on the specific findings. Dental cleanings are anesthetic procedures. Anesthesia is used so the pet feels no discomfort and to avoid moving, biting and escaping. During the dental procedure radiographs may be needed to completely evaluate the tooth roots and bones. Periodontal disease is the most common dental condition in dogs and cats. Periodontal disease is graded on a scale of 0 (normal) to 4 (severe). During the procedure the teeth will also be cleaned using an ultrasonic scaler. The ultrasonic scaler is used to remove built up plaque and tartar on the surface of the teeth and just below the gum line. Finally, the teeth will be polished.
After your pet has had a professional dental cleaning there are things you can do at home to prevent dental disease. These include regular brushing, dental treats and dental diets.
Tis the season to be jolly! The holidays can be a dangerous time of year for your pets. Use these tips to help keep your furry friends happy and safe during your holiday festivities.
Try to avoid sharing holiday snacks with your pets. Many pets cannot handle diet changes which can lead to intestinal upset, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea or worse. Some foods we love during the holidays can even be toxic to your cats and dogs. These include alcohol, chocolate, caffeine, grapes and raisins, macadamia nuts, onions, garlic, raw meat and bones, xylitol (sweetener) or raw yeast dough.
Many holiday decorations can be hazardous to your pet's safety. Make sure your Christmas tree is secure to prevent injury. Also, avoid letting your pets drink the tree water or eat fallen needles. Poinsettias, mistletoe and holly can all be toxic to cats and dogs. Be very careful when using tinsel and strings as cats are often attracted to them. If ingested, they can lead to GI obstructions. Also, make sure candles and wires are secured to avoid potential burns or fires.
Some pets can develop anxiety if there are changes to their normal routines. During celebrations there are often unfamiliar friends and family. Try sticking to their normal feeding and exercise schedule as consistently as possible. Allow your pets to retreat to a quiet, safe place when visitors are present.
We wish you all a happy holiday season!
Dogs Like Chocolate
Chocolate is just so good! It's all over the house, especially during the holidays like Halloween, Christmas, and Easter. We see a large increase of calls from dog owners whose dogs have overindulged in some chocolate left within reach of their noses. Some dogs will only have the opportunity to get one piece, while other dogs will eat an entire bag until it's gone.
What's So Bad?
Chocolate comes from roasted Theobroma cacao. These seeds contain caffeine and theobromine--both of which can be toxic to dogs. There is a wide range of medical issues related to this toxicity beginning with upset tummy and ending in death by chocolate. Some of the signs and symptoms of chocolate toxicity are:
--Increased body temperature
--Low blood pressure
Which Type of Chocolate?
The toxicity level is directly related to the type and amount of chocolate ingested. Generally, the more "pure" the chocolate is, the greater the chance for toxicity. Some examples of chocolate and their toxicity levels are:
--Milk Chocolate: can become toxic when ingested at 0.7 ounces per pound of body weight.
--Semi-sweet Chocolate: Can become toxic when ingested at 0.3 ounces per pound of body weight.
--Baking Chocolate: Can become toxic at levels of 0.1 ounces per pound of body weight.
If your pet has ingested chocolate and you may need to reference a toxicity meter for dogs, click here for one from PetMD.
What Do I Do?
If your pet has ingested chocolate, you should call your veterinarian immediately. You will need to be able to tell them what kind of chocolate and how much chocolate your dog ingested. If your veterinarian advises you to bring your pet in, they will probably want to run some bloodwork to test for organ function or theobromine levels. An ECG may be necessary to check the heart for any abnormalities. Your veterinarian may also recommend initiating IV Fluid therapy to help minimize the effects of the toxicitiy.
You should always treat chocolate ingestion as an emergency and at the very least call your veterinarian for advice. The earlier the treatment is initialized the better chance for complete recovery.
The Basics of Diabetes
Our pets tend to suffer from many of the same diseases we do. One particular disease cats share with us humans is Diabetes Mellitus, where the body is unable to produce enough or respond appropriately to the hormone insulin. The result of this inability is extremely elevated glucose levels. Several risk factors for diabetes are obesity, inactivity, increasing age, and glucocorticoid therapy.