Dental for Dogs and Cats
Oral care is extremely important for the overall health of dogs and cats.
Undiagnosed dental disease can spread to organs like the heart or liver in a pet’s body and cause serious health problems. We provide caring and compassionate dental for dogs and cats at Boulevard Animal Hospital. If you need an Athens, GA vet that provides pet dental services, we hope that you will be our first choice! Here is some information pet owners should know about dental care for their dogs and cats.
Veterinary Dentistry in Athens, GA
Vet dental practices include cleaning, filing, extracting and repairing the teeth of dogs and cats. It is similar in some ways to the services provided by your own dentist. A board-certified veterinary dentist should provide these specialized services for pets. A veterinary technician in Georgia is allowed to provide some limited dental care procedures, but only while under the direct supervision of a licensed vet.
A veterinarian will do at least a visual check of your pet’s teeth during an annual wellness checkup. If a problem is suspected, or if there are visual signs of a dental problem, X-rays may be taken to assess your animal’s teeth. For a professional teeth cleaning or any other type of dental procedure, your dog or cat will be placed under anesthesia. This is to keep your pet safe and still during the procedure. While your pet is asleep from the anesthesia, a thorough cleaning and analysis of the teeth will take place. The teeth will be scaled and polished to remove plaque and tartar, especially below the gumline.
After many pet dental procedures take place, we may send your pet home with antibiotics for you to administer to them. You will also receive any instructions needed on aftercare, diet and other changes that need to take place so your pet can properly heal from the procedure.
Oral Care for Dogs & Cats
Your veterinarian should check the health of your pet’s teeth at least once a year. This allows for the early detection of any problems. If you notice a problem with your pet and suspect it is related to his or her dental health, you don’t have to wait for the annual wellness check to bring them in. You should call us for an appointment if you notice any of the following symptoms in your dog or cat:
- Abnormal chewing or excessive drooling
- Dropping food from the mouth
- Bad breath
- Tissue swelling around the mouth
- Broken teeth
- Bleeding or pain from the mouth
- Discolored teeth or teeth covered by scaly tartar
- Reduced appetite
Some dogs and cats will also become irritable when suffering from a dental problem. They may try to bite when you attempt to examine their teeth, especially if they are in pain. Any of the warning signs above should be cause to call us for a dental checkup.
Causes of Dog & Cat Oral Problems
Pets are less likely to develop cavities in their teeth than humans, but a lot of other oral problems they face are similar. Here are some of the issues that can be treated by a board-certified veterinary dentist:
- Periodontal disease (gum disease)
- Broken teeth
- Broken jaw
- Abscessed (infected) teeth
- Misaligned teeth or bite
- Palate defects
- Oral cysts or tumors
Periodontal disease is the most common oral issue that dogs and cats develop. Most pets will start to show signs of gum disease by age 3. Periodontal disease only gets worse over time if it is left untreated, and your pet may need to have multiple teeth extracted eventually.
Early detection is especially important! Once periodontal disease becomes advanced, it can cause problems with your pet’s heart, liver, and kidneys. Once plaque and tartar start to build up beneath your pet’s gumline, periodontal disease starts to form. The pet’s condition is rated between a score of 0 (normal) and 4 (severe). If left untreated, the plaque and tartar under the gumline can lead to an infection that attacks the jawbone and connective tissues. Periodontal disease can be effectively staved off by having your veterinarian conduct a thorough scaling and teeth cleaning.
Based on X-rays, the vet may make additional recommendations on dental care that your pet requires. Sometimes extracting one or more teeth can be the only solution to improve your pet’s oral health. This could have an impact on your pet’s ability to chew kibble, and may require you to switch to a soft food diet for your dog or cat.
Pet Dentistry & Safe Anesthesia
Pets don’t really understand what is happening during a dental appointment. They would become extremely anxious if they were awake for something as simple as a teeth cleaning, because it would require strangers to hold them down and work on their teeth. For dental procedures to be calm and pain-free for your pet, anesthesia is required.
Prior to a dental procedure, we will perform a blood work analysis on your dog or cat. This analysis lets us know that your pet is healthy enough to receive anesthesia. Certain health conditions may preclude the use of anesthesia, because it could be a risk to the pet (this is rare, however). Anesthesia does carry risks, but the practice has been used for so long now that it is safer than ever. Our staff is also happy to answer any and all questions you may have prior to the procedure.
More complex oral care is sometimes treated like a “day surgery.” You will drop your pet off in the morning and we will call you when the procedure is finished. We want you to rest assured that your dog or cat is being well cared for before, during and after its dental procedure! When pets wake up from the anesthesia, they may be administered some anti-drooling medication. We will closely monitor your pet’s condition the whole time to ensure that there are no complications.
Call Us for Dental for Dogs and Cats
Dental procedures for your dog or cat can be just as important as your regular care from your dentist. Their oral health plays an important role in their overall health, and taking good care of their teeth helps them to enjoy long, healthy lives. If you have a dog or cat (or both) in the Athens, GA area, call us at Boulevard Animal Hospital to schedule an appointment today!