Treating Advanced Periodontal Disease in Dog with Heart Conditions & High Anesthesia Risk

Lucy, a sweet older dog, has had advanced periodontal disease for a long time.  The clients were well aware of the severity and how it was negatively affecting her health.  However, she also has a pretty significant heart problem.  This was so severe that her family vet was not willing to take a chance on putting her under anesthesia to take care of her teeth.  Sadly, the infection progressed to the point where her pet parent could tell she wasn’t feeling well.

She came for a consultation with Dr. Niemiec at Veterinary Dental Specialties and Oral Surgery, where he confirmed the advanced state of disease.  In addition, he performed a thorough review of her medical records, confirming the advanced heart disease.  Dr. Niemiec discussed his findings and recommendations, and when it got to the anesthesia part, he had good news.  Veterinary Dental Specialties and Oral Surgery contracts with a Board-Certified Anesthesiologist (Dr. Amber Hopkins DACVAA) to perform anesthesia on our high risk cases.  The client was thrilled and immediately booked the procedure with Dr. Hopkins.

The initial oral exam while Lucy was awake revealed severe tartar and gingivitis with gum recession. (Figures 2 and 3)

Pre-operatory images of the right (2) and left (3) maxillary arcades revealing severe periodontal disease.

Pre-operatory images of the right maxillary arcades revealing severe periodontal disease.

Pre-operatory images of the and left maxillary arcades revealing severe periodontal disease.

Pre-operatory images of the and left maxillary arcades revealing severe periodontal disease.

Dr. Hopkins placed Lucy carefully under general anesthesia so Dr. Niemiec could perform a complete examination, charting, and dental radiographs.

Intraoral dental radiographs confirming the advanced bone loss from periodontal disease.  The blue line represents where the bone should be and the red where the bone had receded to.

This confirmed the advanced periodontal disease as well as bilateral oronasal fistulas (Figures 8 and 9)  . Dr. Niemiec performed numerous extractions as well as other periodontal therapies to give Lucy a healthy and happy smile.  He alss closed to two oronasal fistulas.  She did great with anesthesia and was back to her self after just a few days.  As a matter of fact, she was acting much perkier at the 2 week recheck than pre-surgery.  This proves that she was sick from her periodontal disease.

Intraoperative pictures of a periodontal probe inserted into the oronasal fistulas on the right.

Intraoperative pictures of a periodontal probe inserted into the oronasal fistulas on the left.

By partnering with other specialists such as anesthesiologists, Veterinary Dental Specialties & Oral Surgery can treat very sick pets and give them happy, healthy smiles.  If you have a pet with a systemic illness and bad teeth, consider making an appointment with a board certified veterinary dentist.  In all likelihood we can take care of their mouth and make them healthier and happier, just like Lucy.