Pet Editorial published in the July 2016 edition of The Billboard:
Pets have teeth, and since we have domesticated them and some of the normal cleansing “mechanisms” are no longer in the diets we feed, dental / oral disease has become the most prevalent disease in pets. As the age increases so does the prevalence of oral disease.
At a facility dealing with dental and oral care only, the prevalence of oral disease in young cats was found to be about 25%. At other facilities the prevalence was shown to exceed 75% in dogs older than 14 years. Home dental and oral care is therefore essential.
Signs of dental / oral disease include: Bad breath (halitosis), wiping or rubbing the face against objects, bleeding and loose teeth. Bad breath is caused by a number of conditions – obviously the easiest to eliminate is the habit of eating the faeces of other animals licking under the tail. Certain diseases also lead to bad breath and these include kidney disease.
Bleeding may be due to gum inflammation, broken teeth, displaced teeth and causes bacterial to enter the blood stream with spread of potential infection causing bacteria to some of the organs. Every time the pet eats or grooms itself leading to bleeding, bacteria enter the blood stream. This chronic bacterial infection can lead to debilitation of the animal. The cause of the bleeding needs to be investigated and eliminated.
Routine scale and polish procedures to clean the teeth and remove calculus and plaque, are performed under general anaesthesia. This protects the animal’s airways from the bacteria laden aerosol formed during the scaling procedure. It also keeps the animals still for a thorough examination and enabling the work to be carried out safely and as quickly as possible. “Anaesthesia-free” dental treatment is not permitted and in some countries considered unprofessional.
Different practices will have different pricing for pet dentistry – make sure that those who provide a cheaper estimate will in fact take the same level of care and proficiency as those that cost a little more.
Once the teeth have been professionally cleaned, dental home-care is essential. This usually takes the form of: tooth brushing using an appropriate tooth brush and pet tooth paste; tooth friendly diet; tooth friendly toys; tooth friendly treats. An oral rinse can also be used to lower the number of plaque bacteria in the mouth.
At the Cape Animal Dentistry Service, the examinations and procedures are performed by a Specialist Veterinary Dentist, who after undergoing training and meeting the credentials requirements of the European Veterinary Dental College, became a Diplomate of the EVDC. The clinic is equipped with state-of-the-art digital dental radiography, dental surgery unit and other equipment required to perform: root canal therapy, Orthodontics, dental crowns, fillings and oral surgery.
Text supplied by Cedric Tutt