Dentistry in Small Animal Practice
We brush our teeth every day! Find out how to keep your pets smile as white as your own.
As vets, in an average day nearly 1 in 4 cats/dogs we see in our consulting rooms will have some form of dental disease by the age of 3 years although they rarely show signs of any problems. However, by 10 years of age most of these are becoming a clinical disease. Symptoms range from just bad breath (halitosis) to changes in eating habits, primarily avoiding harder foods like biscuits and chews. Oral pain or what you would call true toothache, which causes your pet to stop eating, really only shows itself at the very latest and often irreversible stage when tooth extractions may be necessary under general anaesthesia. If this is what needs to be done we will do a full dental overhaul of your pet's mouth, extracting any damaged, loose teeth and then ultrasonic scaling and polishing the remainder. This gives you and us the opportunity to start afresh and preserve what is left for the future of your pet's well-being.
They say, “Prevention is better than cure” and here at Lockwood Vets we encourage our clients to follow this route. When you come in for your pet's annual booster vaccination, the mouth is checked as part of the full health examination each patient receives. Any potential issues or future problems are pointed out and a treatment plan discussed. Home brushing with proper pet toothpaste (not human as it’s unpleasant and potentially damaging) is the gold standard but needs gradual training ideally from an early age. Our nurses run dental clinics to teach you the best methods and the best equipment to use as the range is bewildering these days. Believe or not cats can be “brushed” too with patience and understanding. For those pets that won't tolerate this form of dental care there are a variety of other measures that can be employed. Feeding good quality dry foods helps to stop build-up of plaque on teeth which like in us is the first stage of any potential dental problem. There are even special dental diets which are formulated to make this as effective as possible. Dental chews also help alongside other additives to a normal diet. There are even drinking water additives to complete the home dental care plan. Further advice and information is freely available from our veterinary staff and clinics that we run. Each year the Lockwood Group participates in “Pet Smile Month” which is a national initiative across the UK veterinary profession to promote and highlight good pet dental care.
We mustn't forget our smaller furry companion like rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs and the like. Their situation is different as in these species their teeth grow and wear continuously throughout their lives. The problems we see are usually based on overgrowth in the wrong direction but this can often be traced back to lack of good quality forage in the diet. Again diet advice is freely available from all our clinical staff.
In conclusion we would expect all pets to have at least some form of dental intervention once in their lives purely as a result of general wear and tear throughout life as they are living longer and longer these days. However, being aware of what could be done especially at an early age may reduce the frequency and severity of disease in this area.
So book an appointment today if you have any questions or concerns.