February is National Pet Dental Health Month

dog-smile-3

While we try to emphasize the importance of pet dental health throughout the year, February gives us an opportunity to highlight specific aspects of dental assessment, treatment and preventative care.

Good oral health is more than just a pretty smile. Poor dental hygiene can put your pet’s health at risk. Did you know that 85% of pets have periodontal disease by age 3? “Dog breath”—or a cat with a foul-smelling mouth—can be a sign of dental conditions. If left untreated, you may put your pet at risk for greater problems such as periodontitis or heart disease.

Brush dog teeth

Home dental care and routine cleanings can help prevent periodontal disease. Brushing is the single most effective thing you can do to help keep your pet’s teeth healthy. Ask us for tips on how to brush your pet’s teeth and other suggestions for preventative oral health care.

Additionally, a complete oral examination can detect hidden health problems. Even if your pet’s breath smells fine, there could still be dental conditions and oral pain that are hard to detect without a complete veterinary exam or dental radiographs.

Dog teeth cleaning woodinvilleAs an example, I will briefly share the story of my own dog, Hokulani, a 12-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (our daily office resident whom many of you have met on your visits here).

I adopted Hoku at 6 years of age. As a small breed dog that had not received previous oral health care, not surprisingly, she had irreversible periodontitis. Since then, Hoku has had multiple dental cleanings and teeth extractions over the years.

Professional Cleanings + X-rays

We know that most dental disease occurs beneath the gum line and that a thorough dental assessment and cleaning in our patients require anesthesia. Additionally, dental radiography is invaluable and reveals dental disease of tooth roots and the jaw that cannot be detected otherwise. A study showed that radiographs of teeth without obvious abnormalities yielded incidental or clinically important findings in roughly 3 out of 10 dogs and 4 out of 10 cats.

periodontal-disease-xrayIn late 2015, Bothell Pet Hospital purchased a dental radiography system that allows us to take detailed full mouth radiographs (x-rays) of our canine and feline patients, just as they do at your own dentist. While I had been vigilant about doing oral assessments and cleanings for Hoku, dental radiographs revealed tooth root abscesses and irreversible bone loss that I had missed—since I could not see it with the naked eye.

Furthermore, although she did not show obvious signs of pain, she definitely seemed more comfortable and ate better after her procedure. Addressing Hoku’s oral health and dental conditions is an ongoing commitment and part of ensuring she has the healthiest, happiest life.

dog-smile-2Here at Bothell Pet Hospital we are proud that we perform full-mouth radiography with every dental procedure as part of a comprehensive oral assessment and treatment plan. It has allowed us to continue our mission of providing our client’s cats and dogs with the best medical, surgical and dental care. We are committed to your pet’s health and wellness, and we know that you are as well!

Additional Information and Tips:

AVMA.org

National Pet Dental Month Event

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About Bothell Pet Hospital

Since 1954, Bothell Pet Hospital has been operating as an independent small animal hospital, providing primary veterinary care to cats and dogs in Bothell, Lake City, Lake Forest Park, Kenmore, Woodinville, Mill Creek, Kirkland, Brier, and other surrounding neighborhoods.
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