The month of October has traditionally conjured up images of vampires crying, “I want to suck your blood!” However, at Danielson’s Quinebaug Valley Veterinary Hospital, the veterinarians and support staff are shouting, “WE WANT TO SEE YOUR TEETH!” A declaration of our dedication to creating awareness about the oral health issues affecting dogs and cats, we hope this little phrase will teach our clients a lot about the importance of maintaining their pet’s oral hygiene. We’re holding staff meetings and educational seminars throughout the month to learn more about oral health, but now it’s your turn to get involved!
WHY IS MAINTAINING ORAL HEALTH IMPORTANT?
“Healthy teeth mean a healthy heart,” Dr. Lambert notes, acknowledging that chronic infection in the mouth can systemically spread bacteria throughout your pet’s body, causing damage to the heart, liver, and kidneys. The American Veterinary Dental Society has reported that over 80% of dogs and 70% of cats over 3 years of age show some form of infectious periodontal disease. (“Periodontal” is a scientific way to refer to the tissues and structures, like gums, that surround teeth!)
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF POOR ORAL HEALTH?
There are symptoms you can look for at home to identify possible periodontal disease. Bad breath, oral discomfort, difficulty eating or chewing, and tooth loss are symptoms you shouldn’t ignore!
HOW CAN QUINEBAUG VALLEY VETERINARY HOSPITAL IMPROVE YOUR PET’S ORAL HEALTH?
If one of our three veterinarians examines your pet and finds tartar build-up or periodontal issues, a professional dental cleaning with our head technician, Denise, will likely be recommended. During a dental cleaning, your pet is fully anesthetized, meaning a full oral exam is possible. A rare chance to fully view a pet’s oral cavity, full oral exams can allow us to catch oral cancer early, find broken teeth, and much more. Next, tartar – which collects above and below the gum line – is removed, the teeth are polished, and enamel-strengthening flouride is applied.
Patient, Jake’s, teeth before & after a dental cleaning at QVVH!
HOW CAN YOU CONTINUE GOOD ORAL HEALTH AT HOME?
A full dental cleaning isn’t the end of the road for oral hygiene, but the beginning. When your pet is discharged from a dental cleaning, a technician will give you a complimentary toothbrush and Virbac CET toothpaste and discuss how to brush your cat or dog’s teeth. (To start maintaining your pet’s oral health from home, watch this video on proper tooth brushing!) Head technician, Denise, notes that “the optimal frequency for brushing is once a day.” Luckily, you don’t have to be as good as Denise is at cleaning teeth to make your brushing your pet’s teeth count! Virbac CET toothpaste has enzymatic action, meaning that upon contact with your pet’s saliva, the toothpaste starts to kill bacteria. Tooth brushing with pet-friendly toothpaste isn’t the only way you can maintain your pet’s oral health. While Denise notes that “chewing conventional bones isn’t doing anything to destroy bacteria,’ and Dr. Christine Previe emphasizes that “hard dog or cat food isn’t a means of maintaining oral health,” there are products specifically designed to help keep pet’s teeth tartar and bacteria free! We carry canine and feline chews from CET that, like their toothpaste, react with your pet’s saliva to fight bacteria. Additionally, we have an easy-to-use water additive that you can simply place in your dog or cat’s water daily! With so many options to care for your pet’s teeth, how can you say no?
AND DON’T MISS OUT!
From October 29-31, pets who come by QVVH wearing Halloween costumes will receive a complimentary dental health evaluation by a technician and a bag of tooth-friendly treats. Don’t have time to stop in? Post a picture of your pet’s teeth on our Facebook wall to be entered to win oral hygiene products. Lastly, follow our Twitter to get more tips!