Dental Care For Your Pet-February 2018

Dental Care For Your Pet

Have you noticed your pet’s pearly whites are covered by tartar and plaque?  Has their breath been smelly when they give you kisses?  Caring for your pet’s teeth is a critical part of their wellness. Plaque and tartar carry bacteria that can enter your pet’s bloodstream and cause heart, lung, and kidney disease.  Everyday we brush our own teeth, but what about our pets?  They could really use our help to keep those pearly whites pearly.  Developing regular tooth brushing routines and preventative care will help to prevent periodontal issues in the future, saving you money as well the stress of major periodontal problems your pet could encounter.

Image result for brushing your pets teethBrushing Your Pet’s Teeth

We recommend brushing your pet’s teeth daily as the best way to prevent the buildup of tartar, as well as inflammation of the gums.  However, any teeth brushing that you are able to do at all will make a difference.  The physical motion of the bristles over your pet’s teeth helps disturb bacterial film that forms on the teeth.  When you brush your pet’s teeth, concentrate on the surface of the the teeth that contact the cheek.  If you finish the surfaces that touch the cheek, you can then try to cover the other three surfaces of the tooth.  Don’t worry if you’re not able to clean all four surfaces of the tooth as the majority of tartar builds up on the cheek (buccal) surface.  

You need to be sure to use a dog or cat specific toothpaste.  Never use a human toothpaste as swallowing this can harm your pet.  There are a variety of toothbrush options, including a finger brush or a soft bristle human toothbrush.  Image result for brushing teeth cat teeth

Don’t worry if you’ve never brushed your pets teeth before. It’s never too late to start!  It is most helpful to get a young animal used to having his/her mouth and teeth handled with frequent short sessions and positive reinforcement.  If your pet is not a puppy or kitten, then the same principles can be used especially with the help of a fun reward that follows.  Keeping a tooth brushing session short and sweet with an activity afterwards that your pet enjoys such as a walk or a healthy treat is very helpful to the learning process.  We are always happy to over the tooth brushing process with you, or refer you to helpful videos such as this one:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wB3GIAgrTPE

While you are brushing your pet’s teeth, please keep an eye out for teeth that are loose, broken, or painful.  Take a look also at your pet’s gums to see if there is any swelling, bleeding, or masses.  Note if your pet may also have any appetite loss, dropping of food from his/her mouth, and unusual chewing or drooling.  Pay attention to any attitude changes your pet may have, as irritability can be a sign of oral discomfort.  Any of the above observations mean that your pet needs to have an oral exam by your veterinarian.  It is important to address these issues early so that they can be nipped in the bud.

Professional Dental Cleanings

The American Animal Hospital Association recommends that your pet’s teeth be professionally cleaned annually beginning at one year old for cats and small dogs and starting at two years for large breed Image result for veterinary dog teeth cleaningdogs.  In preparation for a professional cleaning, your pet will have pre-anesthetic bloodwork performed to be sure that he/she is a safe candidate for anesthesia.  Your pet will be sedated, intubated, and carefully monitored under anesthesia for the procedure.  During this time, your veterinarian is able to do a complete oral exam looking for periodontal disease and oral tumors.  Since we are only able to do a brief oral exam in most awake patients, this is the best time for your pets whole mouth to be examined. Scaling is performed to remove plaque and tartar from above and below the gumline, which is very important to the health of your pets’ teeth. Scaling is followed by polishing with paste that smooths over the enamel surfaces.  Fluoride or another type of barrier sealant is then applied to all surfaces of the teeth that act to repel plaque.  

Image result for oravet chewsDental Chews, Treats, and Toys

While frequent tooth brushing is the best way to prevent and remove the buildup of plaque and tartar, dental specific treats and toys can be a helpful adjunct to regular tooth brushing.  One thing to keep in mind is that a dental chew will not clean all four surfaces of the teeth due to the way pets chew.  This means that just the incisal surface of a tooth is cleaned, rather than the part of the tooth nearest the gums where plaque and tartar are most likely to accumulate.  Treats that have the Veterinary Oral Health Council have met quality standards for removal of plaque and reducing tartar. Monitor your pet to ensure that they are actually chewing the dental chew or treat in order to receive the most benefit. As always, please use caution when giving your pets treats and chews to ensure that they do not choke or swallow these chews whole.  Never give your pets bones, cow hooves, pig ears, plastic bottles, antlers, or rawhides.  

Image result for oratene water additiveWater Additives, Rinses, and Sprays

Water additives, rinses, and sprays help to reduce the bacterial load in a pet’s mouth.  Oratene and AquaDent are examples of water additive products that act as safe to swallow mouth washes.  Oral rinses like DentaHex can sprayed over your pet’s teeth daily to also help keep bacterial numbers down.  We also offer Leba-III spray that can help the healthy bacterial balance in the mouth.  

Foods to Promote Dental CareImage result for hill's t/d feline

Dry foods have more abrasive activity on the teeth than canned food to help remove tartar and plaque.  Dry foods are also less likely to get packed in between the teeth and in the gingival (gum) crevices.  Plaque and tartar will still accumulate on teeth in spite of feeding your pet a dry diet even a dental diet.  Always keep in mind that a dental diet does not replace regular teeth brushing.  Some dental diets include Canine and Feline t/d and Science Diet Oral Care and Eukanuba Dental Defense Diet.Here is a link that provides a list of dental diets:

http://www.vohc.org/VOHCAcceptedProductsTable_Dogs.pdf

Sources:

-AVMA Pet Dental Care

https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/Pet-Dental-Care.aspx

-AAHA Dental Care Guidelines for Dogs and Cats

https://www.aaha.org/pet_owner/about_aaha/why_accreditation_matters/guidelines_position_statements/aaha_dental_care_guidelines_for_dogs_and_cats.aspx

-American Veterinary Dental College

https://www.avdc.org/ownersinfo.html

Health Theme Months for 2018

Health Theme Months for 2018

January: Weight Loss and Healthy Joints
February: Dental Health Month
March: Lyme Awareness
April: Parasite Prevention Month
May: Alleviating Allergies Month
June: Addressing Anxiety Month
July and August: No theme
September: Senior Pet Month (10% off Wellness Bloodwork)
October: Dental Health Month
November: 10% off Microchipping Month
December: Discount on Healthy Treats

October 2017-Dental Disease

Dental Disease is Extremely Painful:

10% off all dental cleanings, extractions, and medications for dental procedures!

The most stunning part of most dental procedures is how middle age to older animals act after them. Owners often comment that their pet is “acting like a puppy again” after a dental procedure at our hospital. What most people don’t understand is that dental disease is very painful for animals.

Our pets do a great job of hiding their pain. They cannot tell us with words. So, sometimes they will act grumpy or react when you touch around their mouth, but most of the time, those are the only signs of dental disease that owners will see. This is because animals in the wild are conditioned to hide their pain to survive. There is no doubt however that pets with dental disease suffer.

Most owners believe that their pet acting grumpy as he or she gets older is due to old age. Most of the time, it is due to the pet feeling painful. Pets with dental disease experience pain while eating, drinking, playing, and even at rest. Infection in the mouth causes some of the bodies most sensitive nerve endings to be constantly stimulated. Pets can get headaches from this constant stimulation. Infection is a powerful force in the body. It can spread from the teeth to the jaw and cause the bones in the jaw to disintegrate along with the tooth roots. This will cause permanent damage to the jaw bones making it impossible for the jaw to function properly.

Animals three years old and older need a dental exam once a year. Our goal is to stop the infection before the headaches and destruction of the mouth take place. Once calculus (hardened plaque) has formed on the teeth, it is time for a dental cleaning. By removing this hardened tartar, we take away the bacteria’s hiding place. The bacteria likes to live under this hard shell on the teeth and infect the gum along the gum line. That is the beginning of dental disease. Doing dental cleanings at this stage is very helpful for your pet because they do not have to experience the pain that comes with the infections of the teeth. Please be proactive about this disease. Your pet relies completely on you for his or her health. If you take care of your pets teeth, you will have a happier, healthier pet for many years to come.

An Epidemic! Overweight Pets

An Epidemic! Overweight Pets:

53% of dogs in the US are overweight with 5% being classified as obese.

55% of cats in the US are overweight.

How to tell if your pet is overweight.

  • Feel over the ribs and spine. If you can easily feel the ribs and spine but cannot see them, your pet is the perfect weight. If you have to dig to feel them, your pet is overweight.
  • Look at their “abdominal tuck”. Does the abdomen look “empty” or is it rounded and hanging down. Ideally, the abdomen does not look empty, but also, does not hang. It simply tucks up into the back legs.
  • Other areas that animals store fat is along their neck and over their tail head. Check these areas as well.

How to weigh your dog or cat.

  • Using a baby scale for small dogs and cats is best. Typically, their weights are much lower than our weights. So, if the scale is a half a pound off that is significant in relation to these little ones total weight.
  • For larger dogs (20# and above), weigh yourself then weigh yourself holding your dog.
  • Use your veterinary clinic’s scale! :) Most veterinary clinics do not mind if you call ahead and ask to use their scale.

Why is my pet so overweight?

  • Some breeds are prone to being overweight. Beagles, labs, rottweilers, and golden retrievers are only a couple of these breeds. These dogs require strict diet to maintain a healthy weight.
  • People food. Those adorable begging eyes from our beloved pets are hard to resist! Human foods tend to be more calorie and fat dense than dog foods. Giving your pet a bite of meat or french fries is the equivalent to giving yourself an ice cream sundae or hershey bar. If they get too much, they will become overweight quickly.
  • Lack of portion control. Leaving your pet’s bowl full of food or not understanding what amount of food your pet requires, will result in your pet becoming overweight. Most bags of food have portions to feed on the back. Find out from your vet what your pet’s weight should be and feed ⅔-¾ of the amount the bag tells you to feed for that weight.
  • Endocrine disease. There are several diseases: hypothyroidism and Cushing’s to name a few that will result in your pet being unable to lose weight. If you are concerned, have your veterinarian run bloodwork as soon as possible.

How do I get my pet to lose weight?

  • Portion control. This applies to treats and food. Treats should be less than 10% of the total calories in the diet. Also, feeding less food and supplementing with canned green beans or cooked carrots will achieve your pet’s weight loss while still allowing him or her to feel full. Remember: feed ⅔ to ¾ of what the bag suggests for their ideal weight. The reason you do this is the bag is counting calories for a very active dog (aka hiking in the mountains, search and rescue, etc). Most of the dogs we see in our practice are kept inside the majority of the day until their owners get home. They do not require many calories at all.
  • Diet food. Sometimes getting patients to lose food on a regular adult diet is impossible. For those patients trying an over the counter or even prescription diet will oftentimes do the trick. Remember cut out all people food and reduce treats significantly during the diet.
  • Exercise. If your pet is obese, this may not be a good idea (too much weight and walking can harm the joints), but if not, throwing the ball for 30 minutes a day, playing with a laser pointer, or going for a walk is great for weight loss. It also helps your pet’s heart and lungs!
  • Don’t give in to begging. Food is love. That is how most owners show their pets that they care. It is so hard when your pet is asking politely, or in some cases, demanding food. Giving cooked carrots, canned green beans, and other cooked veggies are the only people food that are sortove okay to give when they are dieting. Remember calories add up. Also, feeding food high in sugars and fat increase your pet’s risk of developing pancreatitis, which is a lifelong disease of the digestive system.
  • No people food. I know I’m saying it again. Truly, the calories in people food are too high to be given to your pet. Avoid this.

Why should you help your pet lose weight?

  • Fat is an organ too and being overweight increases inflammation in your body and leads to other disease states such as: diabetes, arthritis, skin issues, heart issues, and increased blood pressure.
  • Overweight pets are also at high risk for some or all of the following trouble breathing, heat stroke, compromised immune system, and decreased life span.

Arthritis and Degenerative Joint Disease Treatments

For the Month of July, we are offering 10% off:

Dasuquin Advanced (joint supplement)

Dasuquin Advanced is an amazing joint supplement. It works by giving your dog or cat’s body what it needs to heal the cartilage in his or her joints. It comes in two formulations: tablets and chews. There is no difference in quality or efficacy between the two forms. There is no generic equivalent to this product.

Dasuquin Advanced contains ASU which scientifically proven to reverse cartilage damage and increase joint health. This type of break through with a holistic oral joint supplement has never happened in veterinary medicine before. This makes Dasuquin Advanced the most effective supplement on the market for dog with early arthritis (DJD).

Some of the other ingredients in Dasuquin Advanced, hyaluronic acid, MSM, and glucosamine, have a long history of improving joint health in patients. Evidence of this was seen with the efficacy of Dasuquin and Dasuquin with MSM increasing joint mobility, decreasing joint inflammation and lessening joint pain in many canine and feline patients treated with these products.

Find more information: http://www.dasuquin.com/en/dasuquin-advanced-soft-chews/

Dasuquin for Cats

For more information: http://www.dasuquin.com/en/products/#cat

Movoflex

Moviflex is a new joint supplement made specifically for dogs. It is made from egg shell membrane. It also contains Hyaluronic, vitamin D, and Boswellia serrata extract. This joint supplement works very well for patients with early joint disease. It is also great for dogs with food allergies. It contains no gluten, sugar, salt, or shellfish.

Find more information:  https://us.virbac.com/product/supplements/movoflex-soft-chews

NSAIDs and other pain medications for achy joints

Pain and inflammation are major factors in feline and canine arthritis. This pain becomes crippling in older patients. Running, stairs, and sometimes walking are painful. Patients become obese and this extra weight leads to further strain on the joints resulting in pain and inflammation. Keeping these patients strong and a good weight is a very important part of managing their arthritis.

NSAIDs are pain and fever reducing medications that decrease the inflammation in the joints. As a result, pain decreases, and patients are able to move more freely.

NSAIDs can have side effects such as liver disease and kidney disease in cats and dogs. In cats, these risks are too high. NSAIDs are used very, very rarely in them and only in extreme cases. NSAID use in dogs is relatively safe. We do have to monitor their kidney and liver values closely though. We do blood work before starting the NSAID. Then, we do it once every six months. This helps get the dog the pain relief it needs to be happy and healthy, and it maintains the health and safety of the patient.

Cold laser therapy (to decrease pain, reduce inflammation, and speed healing)

For more information: http://ivcjournal.com/laser-therapy-veterinary-medicine/

Adequan (to strengthen and rebuild the cartilage in the joint)

For more information on this therapy: https://www.adequancanine.us/

Joint/Mobility foods

Purina J/M: https://www.proplanveterinarydiets.com/products/jm-joint-mobility-dog/

Hill’s J/D: http://www.hillspet.com/en/us/products/pd-canine-jd-dry

Joint injections (Hyaluronic Acid)

For more information: http://veterinarynews.dvm360.com/surgery-stat-intra-articular-therapies-elbow-dogs

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