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Dentistry

Dentistry

Over 85% of dogs and cats have some type of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease simply means that the gums and bone that hold the teeth in place are being destroyed by oral bacteria. This preventable disease is the number one diagnosed disease in our pets, yet many animals suffer needlessly. Periodontal disease begins with gingivitis, or inflammation of the gum tissue, which is caused by plaque. Plaque is a mixture of saliva, bacteria, glycoproteins and sugars that adhere to the tooth surface.

Within minutes after a cleaning, a thin layer of plaque has adhered to the teeth. Eventually this hardens to become calculus or tartar. Calculus by itself is nonpathogenic – it does not cause disease. However, it does create a rough surface for more plaque to adhere to, and pushes the gums away from the teeth, which increases surface area for more plaque to adhere. Eventually, the supporting structures of the tooth (bone, tissue, periodontal ligament) are destroyed and the tooth becomes mobile and will either fall out on its own or need to be extracted. Signs of periodontal disease are bad breath (halitosis), reluctancy to eat, chewing on one side of the mouth, dropping food, pawing at the face or rubbing the face on the floor, drooling, becoming head shy, and painful mouth/face.

Veterinarians recommend the following care for pets:

STEP 1: Bring your pet in for a dental exam. Don’t wait for his annual checkup if you suspect a problem.

STEP 2: Begin a dental care regimen at home. Brushing your pet’s teeth daily is very important. We also recommend using a specially formulated dental rinse, and dental chews and food. Please ask us if you need instructions on brushing your pet’s teeth, or if you have any other questions.

STEP 3: Schedule your pets for an annual teeth cleaning with x-rays. This is also very important and ensures we are catching any disease early enough to treat.

Periodontal disease and oral bacteria can easily affect other organ systems including the heart, liver, kidneys, lungs and brain. Make sure you bring your pet into the office for regular vet cleanings. Contact us if it’s time for your pet’s next cleaning.

Gastric Dilation Volvulus (GDV)

Gastric Dilation Volvulus (GDV)

Gastric Dilation Volvulus (GDV) is a life threatening, acute condition that requires immediate medical attention. Certain breeds are more prone to this condition: boxers, great Danes, standard poodles, saint bernards, Irish setters, dobermans, weimaraners and gordon setters. These breeds are considered deep-chested (large chest and narrow waist) but any similarly shaped dog can be at risk.

Diagnosis of GDV is made based on physical examination, history and abdominal x-rays. Often GDV happens when a pet eats a large meal and then becomes very active. Initially the dog may become restless, try to vomit or retch continuously but is unable to produce any vomit. This is because the stomach has twisted, preventing anything entering and exiting the digestive system. The pressure inside the stomach starts to increase and the dog may salivate and pant excessively. As the patient’s condition progresses they become lethargic, have a swollen stomach and eventually collapse. If not treated, the internal organs can be damaged and without timely treatment this condition is fatal.

The goals of treatment are to reduce the pressure in the stomach and return the stomach to its normal position. During the surgery, the stomach and internal organs are examined for damage and then the stomach is attached to the body wall to prevent a reoccurrence.

Prophylactic suturing of the stomach is sometimes advised in breeds predisposed to GDV during abdominal surgeries for other causes. Other preventative measures include restriction of exercise before and after feeding. Feed twice a day instead of once a day and not to elevate food/water bowls.