Dr. Julia Gibson, who works both here with us at Elkwood and at our sister practice Compassion Animal Hospital, was interviewed recently by the Animal Health Institute! Check out her wonderful video here! We’re so proud of her!
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! As you’re celebrating, are you aware of what you can do to keep your pets safe and happy, along with all the other family members?
Here’s a list of some great overview articles on important winter and holiday safety for pets!
- Winter Holiday Pet Poisons… Watch that snowglobe! (Pet Poison Helpline)
- 7 Things You Can Do To Make the Holidays Safer For Your Pet(American Veterinary Medical Association)
- Cold Weather Safety (American Veterinary Medical Association)
Additionally, here are some specific things we’d like to feature for you this year in our efforts to keep your pets safe and healthy!
There has been an increase in products that use the artificial sweetener xylitol, which can be incredibly toxic to dogs. (and real bad for cats too!) Even tiny amounts can cause poisoning, especially in small dogs. For something like sugar-free gums, depending on the xylitol content of the particular product, we are talking 3-4 pieces of gum in a small or medium sized dog! More peanut butters and diet foods are being made with this, so make sure to check the label before you “treat” your pets to any special holiday snacks!
This link has a large list of xylitol containing products!
Salt Dough Toxicity
Salt dough toxicity has also been in the news recently, and while this is an infrequently reported home poisoning risk, salt dough Christmas ornaments are certainly popular and prevalent! The amount of salt in these homemade doughs can cause severe toxicity, neurologic issues, and even death in some cases. If your dog or cat is an “unpicky” eater, and eats things he or she shouldn’t, make sure that these decorations are kept up high!
Poinsettias – good news!
This falls in the category of good news! Poinsettias are one of the most commonly cited holiday hazards, and while your pets certainly shouldn’t go around chomping on them, the good news is that they are much less dangerous than other things on our watch list. Chewing a poinsettia is likely to result in some mouth and stomach irritation, but usually doesn’t cause lasting damage for your pet. All the same, it’s best to avoid letting your pets chew on these living decorations.
All of us here at Elkwood Animal Hospital hope you have a very happy and safe holiday season 2015-2016!
October is a Dental Health Awareness Month at Elkwood Animal Hospital!
As part of our ongoing effort to help your pets live long and happy, healthy lives we offer occasional monthly specials to address specific health concerns. Oral disease is a particularly prevalent but under treated condition.
In October we offer 10% off all dental procedures! We also provide free dental goody bags for your pet after his/her procedure, so you can continue with good oral health care at home. Feel free to call us for more information!
This year we are also releasing some articles addressing dental health on a more in-depth level. Please enjoy our article below!
COHAT: Complete Oral Health Assessment & Treatment – What Happens During My Pet’s Procedure?
When you, the pet parent, and our doctors decide a professional dental cleaning or other dental health treatments are beneficial for your pet, there are often questions about what actually happens during the procedure. We prepared this article to help answer some of those questions and help explain the benefits to your pet.
First things first – why do we call it a “COHAT” and not a “dental”?
Many people used to refer to a veterinary oral exam and professional dental cleaning as simply “a dental”. However, we have shifted to calling the process a Complete Oral Health Assessment & Treatment, because that is a much better description of what actually occurs! The procedure is NOT just about cleaning teeth, but about a complete oral health and cancer screening, as well as treating and preventing oral disease for your pet.
During the COHAT, the veterinarian will first do a thorough examination of your pet’s mouth, including inspecting the teeth and recording any that are missing, broken, or diseased, measuring gingival (gum) pockets (an indicator of periodontal disease), evaluating the gums, cheeks, and tongue for any signs of cancer or other disease, and looking deep into the back of the throat. Since your pet is under anesthesia, this exam is far more complete and detailed than anything that can be accomplished in the normal exam room. Subtle changes, masses hidden under the tongue, and other crucial findings can be made on this exam which could be missed on a regular, awake exam.
Treatments & Cleaning
After the examination, the veterinarian can proceed to treatment of any disease found in your pet’s mouth. This may mean scaling and cleaning away tartar deposits (very common) on healthy teeth, and following with a polishing to smooth the enamel and make it more difficult for bacteria to adhere in the future. The equipment we use to clean your pet’s teeth is similar to, or sometimes exactly the same, as what is used for people in a dental office. The ultrasonic tool for removing tartar that we use has different tips and settings for cleaning above or below the gum line; this is one of the most critical parts of the COHAT, as so much of our pets’ dental disease is actually below the gum line. Without cleaning this crucial area, your pet’s plaque and tartar will come right back above the gum line, and the disease will continue deeper below the gum line to cause jaw bone disease.
Sometimes teeth are so diseased that th
ey may be loose and wiggly, or the bone around them may be infected or decaying. These teeth are sources of disease and pain, and thus, we often need to extract them to provide relief. Other teeth may have less severe disease and be repairable with a root canal and restoration, for which we can refer you to veterinary dental specialists.
What About The Anesthesia?
We wish our pets would all “open wide” for our dental procedures, but even people have trouble with this request! Anesthesia is the only way we can safely do the deep cleaning required for your pet’s oral health. For routine cleanings, your pet’s total anesthesia time is often less than 20-30 minutes, although if there are more advanced procedures or necessary extractions, it may take a longer. (Another reason to be proactive about dental care!) The dentistry patient receives intubation to ensure a clear airway for breathing, inhalant anesthesia, and supplementary oxygen; warming, and close monitoring including ECG, blood pressure, oxygenation, temperature, and an assistant to watch over them before, during, and after the procedure are also provided. While no anesthesia is without risk, every patient gets our best care during their dental procedure. Preanesthetic bloodwork, IV catheters, and fluids are always recommended and sometimes required depending on the health and age of your pet. Our goal is always the best and safest treatment.
Please always feel free to discuss options for dental care for your pets with our doctors! We want you to be comfortable that your pet is getting the best preventive or corrective oral care possible for their health and wellbeing!
October is a Dental Health Awareness Month at Elkwood Animal Hospital!
As part of our ongoing effort to help your pets live long and happy, healthy lives we offer occasional monthly specials to address specific health concerns. Dental health is a particularly prevalent but underlooked disease.
In October we offer 10% off all dental procedures, including cleanings! We also provide free dental goody bags for your pet after his/her procedure, so you can continue with good oral health care at home. Feel free to call us for more information! 540-825-1777
This year we are also releasing some articles addressing dental health on a more in-depth level. Please enjoy our first article below!
Dental Disease – A Silent Problem With Big Health Consequences
There’s a disease affecting many of our pets that goes ignored or untreated on a regular basis. According to the American Veterinary Dental College, periodontal disease (disease of the gums and teeth) is THE most common clinical condition in adult dogs and cats, and affects a majority of all pets over the age of three years. That’s a lot of disease!
We would treat a cut, a rash, or a limp in our furry family members, but the painful, chronic infection in our pets’ mouths doesn’t get addressed nearly as frequently. It’s a mostly “silent” disease, and oftentimes even observant owners don’t know it is a problem until it is severe. In the meantime, our pets suffer from toothaches and severe gum sensitivity, loose or broken teeth, and a source of constant infection that may threaten other important organs in the body. Dogs and cats often suffer in silence when it comes to this disease because it is a gradual process to which they adjust over time. Their stoic natures don’t make the disease any less serious, however!
How does dental & periodontal (gum) disease develop?
Natural bacteria live in every pet’s mouth. These bacteria enjoy living in the moist, warm environment, and “sharing” the pet’s meals. They first form a sticky film over the surface of the teeth, which can’t be seen when we look at the teeth. This is what we try to brush away when we brush the teeth. If the film stays in place for enough time, this film hardens into unsightly plaque and dental calculus (tartar) that we see on the teeth.
Tartar acts as a sturdy, protective “homebase” for the bacteria. From there, the infection can easily spread up under the gum line, compromising the root of the tooth and bone of the jaw. The bacteria destroys the bone and connective tissues and eventually causes the teeth to loosen or fall out. This deep infection can also lead to jaw fractures or bone abscesses (pockets of infected bone). The body attempts to send disease-fighting immune cells through the bloodstream to the gums, but can never completely get rid of the infection due to the entrenched disease.
How can dental disease affect the rest of my pet’s health?
Bacteria infecting the mouth can also travel back into the bloodstream and affect other body organs, including the heart, liver, and kidneys. Your pet’s immune system works overtime trying to combat this steady flow of bacteria, however in some cases, the bacteria can lead to other serious illnesses. Senior animals, who naturally have a slightly decreased immune system, may be particularly at risk, and they are often the ones with the most advanced disease. Antibiotic therapy cannot cure the infection, only temporarily decrease the bacteria and lessen the symptoms, because the bacteria are well-established in the mouth. Removing infected teeth (thus removing the source of infection) is often the only way to make your pet healthy again.
Dental disease is a huge problem for your pet. You may not notice that it is there, but it causes tremendous health issues for your aging companion. Our next article will focus on what’s involved in the Complete Oral Health Assessment and Treatment.
October is one of our dental health focus months! Please bring you pet in today to be evaluated by a veterinarian to see if a dental cleaning can make your pet healthier. During October, receive 10% off any dental procedures, and a free dental health “goody bag” for your pet after the procedure!
More information from the American Veterinary Dental College:
Check out their website for more details as they become available!
House calls are an important part of our practice!
We know not every pet is happy to come to our clinic, despite our best efforts to make the experience pleasant. Sometimes the car ride makes them nauseous or fearful, sometimes it’s difficult for older pets to get in and out of the car, and some pets will simply never be as comfortable in the clinic as they would in their own home. Other times, driving to our clinic isn’t possible, safe, or convenient for human family members. These occasions are where veterinary house calls can really make a difference. Don’t let transportation worries stand in the way of getting the valuable veterinary care your pet needs!
Our veterinarians are able to provide many services in the comfort of your home. Routine wellness exams, vaccinations, heartworm & tick disease testing, blood draws, acupuncture, and many other services are available as house call services. There are some services that require specific equipment, such as x-rays or surgery, that will not be able to be performed outside of the clinic, and there are some situations where we may not be to offer the best care unless you pet is able to visit our facility. However, we always welcome calls to discuss whether a home visit would be right for your pet! Please feel free to call us!
We have also recently sent out a mailer featuring a valuable coupon for $20 off our house call trip fee! Please mention it when scheduling your appointment.