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Pet Oral Health

by Clinton Cotten, DVM 

The holidays are over and it is time for planning the rest of your family’s annual schedule. If your family has a pet, now is the time to keep up with their overall health. Your veterinary office should be contacting you to make sure you schedule your pet’s annual exam and preventive health care, i.e., vaccinations, heartworm/parasite testing, and heartworm/flea/tick prevention.

A part of the annual exam should be a discussion about your pet’s oral health. The oral exam should look for loose, broken or decayed teeth, also sores, growths and gum disease. A decision about scaling and polishing your pet’s teeth should be made at this time. I have found over the years that this discussion leads to the pet owner’s great fear (ANESTHESIA). Everyone I know knows someone whose pet died under anesthesia, but pet anesthesia is very safe now in veterinary medicine. A pet over five years of age should have blood work to make sure their liver, kidneys, and bone marrow are working properly. All pets under anesthesia are monitored by a veterinarian or technician.

Pet dental procedures consist of ultrasonic scaling to remove tartar, polishing to remove uneven surfaces on teeth after scaling, removing loose teeth or teeth with exposed roots. All extracted teeth should have dental x-rays done before removal to evaluate the root and underlying bone.

Good oral health can relieve pain, prevent bad breath, and make your pet feel good.