dangers of anesthesia free pet dental care

Consequences of Anesthesia Free Pet Dental Care

Contact Dr. Woodward at Animal Dental Care in Colorado Springs at 719-536-9949 or at wellpets.com

Contact Dr. Woodward at Animal Dental Care in Colorado Springs at 719-536-9949 or at wellpets.com

Recently Colorado veterinary dental specialist Dr. Tony Woodward cared for a middle-aged dog who’d had multiple anesthesia free pet dental cleanings over the last few years in place of professional veterinary dental care. The dog’s teeth did not look very bad and the patient was actually referred to Animal Dental Care in Colorado for another dental problem, not a cleaning. Because the dog’s teeth appeared fairly clean to the owner, they were under the impression that the anesthesia free cleanings had been working well, which unfortunately wasn’t the case. What lurked beneath this dog’s gumline is a clear example of the long-term consequences dogs and owners face when falling prey to the myths of anesthesia free pet dental care.

After full examination including dental radiographs, the problems were evident and resulted in extraction of 16 teeth that were not treatable, due to long-term infection that had gone undetected during the anesthesia-free cleaning procedures. These abscessed teeth were not loose, so a lay person merely scaling the teeth would have never known there was a problem. However, had this dog been taken in for a proper dental cleaning with safe anesthesia and dental x-rays, the areas of severe bone loss and infection could have been treated much earlier and possibly even prevented. In other words, these teeth could have been saved with proper care.

Below are photos and x-rays detailing the case and demonstrating the damage resulting from the anesthesia free teeth cleanings.

Dangers of anesthesia free pet dental care

Picture of the left lower side, showing small amounts of calculus (tartar) above the dog’s gum line.

Grooves in dog teeth due improper anesthesia free cleaning

After cleaning the deep grooves are visible on the teeth from the previous anesthesia free cleaning procedure. The teeth had not been properly polished which allowed rapid accumulation of tartar shortly after the last cleaning.

Grooves in dog teeth due improper anesthesia free cleaning

A dental X-ray of the area, showing large amounts of bone loss around the lower first molar, extending almost all the way through the jaw.

Grooves in dog teeth due improper anesthesia free cleaning

Another dental x-ray after extraction, showing the large defect in the jaw with bone graft material placed into the surgery site.

dangers of anesthesia free pet dental care

The left upper side, showing a dental probe placed between the roots from the inside of the dog’s mouth to the outside.

Dangers of anesthesia free pet dental care

Dental X-ray of this area, showing the large areas of bone loss that had gone untreated, resulting in severe infection and loss of the dog’s teeth in this area.

 

Sparrow – A Special Dog Who Deserved Special Care!

Sparrow - Australian Shepherd Puppy - Wisconsin

Meet Dunham Lake Captain Jack “Sparrow”

Australian Terrier,  Dunham Lake Captain Jack “Sparrow” was born in 2012, without his front right leg, a birth defect was likely due to his mother being exposed to something toxic early on in her pregnancy.  Despite the missing leg, Sparrow continued to thrive, had a slight problem with his right eye (ulcerated cornea), but all other development seemed to be normal.

As he started to lose his puppy teeth, I noticed he would make a funny grinding noise with this teeth and his breath smelled like metal (blood). I watched him carefully, as I do with all my puppies. I had some concerns about the way some of the teeth seemed to be coming in on right side of his mouth, but I also thought, it would straighten out as the puppy teeth fell out.

Examining Puppy Teeth - Wisconsin Vet Dentist

Sparrow’s owner examining his mouth lead her to contact Wisconsin Veterinary Dental Specialist Dr. Dale Kressin.

On February 28, 2013, Sparrow was not acting like himself. I looked at this teeth again, they seemed okay, but the smell of his breath was even worse. I opened his mouth wide and then saw the problem. It appeared to me, that his bottom teeth on the right side were actually cutting into the roof of his mouth and creating an open bloody crevice on the right side of the roof of his mouth. There also was that one molar that I had been concerned about, which was protruding outward toward his check on the upper right jaw.  I decided I better put him on a pain killer and an antibiotic just to be on the safe side.

I was quite distressed about this and had planned to bring him into my vet, but decided that it would be better for him to see a veterinary specialist. My daughter quickly started googling Veterinarian Dental Specialist in Minnesota or Wisconsin and located Dr. Kressin’s Eden Prairie office and the University of Minnesota as two possible places that would specialize in Animal Oral Surgery.

I contacted Dr. Kressin who was very kind and he explained some options. I felt very confident that Dr. Kressin was the right vet dentist for Sparrow, but I was hoping that he could be seen in his Eden Prairie office, not in Oshkosh because that is a 6 hour drive from our home. Dr. Kressin explained that if we could get him to Oshkosh, he would evaluate his condition and he could begin treatment or surgery that same day. I told Dr. Kressin I would get back to him very soon, but I was also going to contact the U of M, since that is only 1 1/2 hours from my home.

After discovering that the U of M would not be able to begin any treatment or surgery on Sparrow until the end of the month at the earliest, the decision was easy. I contacted Dr. Kressin and we made an appointment for the following week to have him see Sparrow in Oshkosh.

Upon arrival at Dr. Kressin’s veterinary dental clinic, we were very impressed with Dr. Kressin and his staff, who explained everything to us in detail including what they had planned to explore and the costs associated with everything. As Dr. Kressin worked on Sparrow, he called me to give up dates, which was very comforting. We left Sparrow in excellent hands and we picked him up a few hours later. This experience couldn’t have been any better.

Sparrow - vet dentistry patient - wisconsin vet dentist

Sparrow recovered well after vet dental surgery with Dr. Kressin.

That evening in our hotel room, Sparrow was running around as if he had never had surgery. In just 11 days since Sparrow’s surgery, he continues to do well. His recovery has been on track if not ahead of schedule. I have great expectations that he will continue to improve and be as comfortable and normal as my other dogs.

We can not thank Dr. Kressin enough for his expertise, through diagnosis and decisions he made in the best interest of our little dog. His commitment and dedication to his patients is superb.

To see Sparrow’s videos or more photos, please visit his website at www.dunhamlakecaptainjacksparrow.com

Sparrow - Wisconsin Vet Dentist Patient

Give a Dog a Bone?

Give your dog a bone and without question they’ll run off to gnaw and chew for hours. But, next time you see those bones at the grocery or pet store, consider they may end up costing you much more than a few dollars. Dog bones have the potential to seriously damage your dog’s teeth, which can lead to an unexpected veterinary bill. The following video from Veterinary News Network, offers excellent information about the risks of letting a dog chew on bones.

Broken dog tooth - Vet Dentist

A fractured dog tooth is painful & must be treated.

While bones are not the only cause for fractured teeth, board certified veterinary dentists will agree it’s is a common cause for dogs who must be treated for broken teeth. “In most cases, broken teeth are caused by the significant biting force dogs can generate coupled with the items they  chew,” says Dr. Michael Peak, a vet dentist in Florida.

“For dogs, chewing on hard materials commonly causes broken or fractured teeth. The result is often a tooth fracture that extends into the pulp canal within the tooth,” says Arizona Veterinary Dental Specialist Dr. Chris Visser.

Since your dog can’t tell you about their pain, you may not initially realize your dog has a broken tooth – but you can be assured broken teeth are very painful for your pet. Dr. Dale Kressin, a Wisconsin Vet Dentist explains, “The anatomy, physiology and nervous system of our companion animals is incredibly similar to our own.  It is only logical to assume animals experience pain from fractured teeth as we do.”

Signs you may notice are your dog not wanting to eat hard treats or food or not being as playful as usual, however sometimes you may not notice anything at all. Maybe owners report that they didn’t notice any difference in their dog’s behavior until after treatment when they suddenly seem like a whole new dog. Regular pet oral exams and radiographs are vital to diagnose any problems in your pet’s mouth including broken teeth. Dr. Woodward, a veterinary dentist in Colorado says, “Waiting for the pet to show signs of pain, which hardly ever happens, can actually leave the pet in pain for years.

Can my dog’s broken tooth be repaired? Yes, there are options to repair a dog’s broken tooth. One option many pet owners are unaware of is that a Veterinary Dentist can provide endontic or root canal treatment for a dog’s broken tooth instead of extracting the tooth. “Depending on which tooth is extracted, it can be a significant loss for the pet,” says Washington Vet Dentist Dr. Allen Matson, “therefore often a better option is root canal therapy, which saves the dogs tooth.”

So, while it can be tempting to give your dog a bone, you can save your dog and your wallet the pain caused by a broken tooth.