Dental Disease Part 3-Dental Surgery

Even with good preventative dental care some animals will still require a dental procedure. Some may even need multiple dental surgeries throughout their lifetime.

Due to the nature of dental disease developing over an animal’s lifetimes it is often our geriatric patients that require dental surgery. However, a dental requires a full general anaesthetic and often people worry their pets are ‘too old to put through an anaesthetic’. We completely understand this concern and examine each patient thoroughly to ensure there are no issues which may increase the anaesthetic risk. We find in a huge number of dental cases that the resolution of dental pain and the improved quality of life after the dental surgery hugely outweigh the concern for the anaesthetic.  

So what happens during the dental?

At the beginning of the dental we remove thick tartar from your pets teeth with specialised instruments and a descaling machine. This allows us to assess the integrity of the tooth underneath. If the tooth underneath is healthy and stable we ensure it is cleaned thoroughly and polished. We never remove healthy stable teeth from your pets mouth, it is unnecessary and in fact very hard work!

The reasons we would extract a tooth include:

  • Root exposure and decay
  • Severe gingivitis and pocketing around the tooth
  • Wobbly unstable teeth
  • Teeth associated with tooth root infections
  • Fractured or damaged teeth which are painful

Before and after pictures

Post dental care

During the dental your pet will have had a strong pain relief and an anti-inflammatory, we continue these anti-inflammatories at home for a few days too and following extractions your pet will require a course of antibiotics. Your pet may be a little quiet that evening following their anaesthetic but after that they can be treated as normal. Most pets will eat well that evening and if not by the following day. Cats and dogs cope remarkably well with little to no teeth, some will still even manage dry food! 5 days post dental we will check that your pets mouth is healing well and ongoing preventative dental care is encouraged.

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Summer Toxins

Summer is well under way (despite the rainy week we have just had!) so we wanted to remind you of the potential hazards to avoid for your pet.

Hots days! Although long walks in the sun are lovely it is really important to pick sensible times to take your dog for a walk; during the really hot weather it is best to choose first thing in the morning or late evening. During the day, keeping your dog in a cool shaded area is best. However, if they insist on sunbathing and getting too warm then wetting their coat and putting a fan on is one of the best ways to cool your pet down. 


Days out! One of the popular destinations of course is the beach! However, please keep and eye out and be vigilant for washed up Jelly fish as even these can sting! Signs following ingestion can range from gastrointestinal upset to a very high temperature and breathing issues. Another potential risk is the ingestion of excessive sea water; the high levels of salt can in fact increase sodium levels in the blood resulting in gastrointestinal upset or in severe cases, neurological signs.





Swimming! With the nice weather comes the inclination to swim! However, at this time of year some lakes and ponds can contain blue-green algae. Keep an eye out for this in the water itself but also look for warning signs around the area you are walking. If you see a sign it is probably safest to keep your dog on it’s lead. Signs of blue-green algae toxicity can vary-some varieties cause liver damage whilst others can affect the brain.

Creepy Crawlies! Unfortunately, with the sunshine come insects that sting! Wasp and bee stings are often painful and cause inflammation and swelling. Our main concern is when the sting is located in a area which may then affect the breathing. Some animals can then also have an allergic reaction to the sting which can results in systemic effects such as collapse. The UK is also home to one type of venomous snake, the Adder. Adder’s are not aggressive in nature and are a protected species however they will bite when provoked. Their bite can result in rapid swelling and collapse and although uncommonly seen they are worth knowing about! 

Gardening! When the weather picks up a lot of us get our gardening gloves on! It is important to ensure proper usage and storage of all gardening products as many of these substances can be toxic when ingested or in some cases walked over; see the Veterinary Poisons Information Service (VPIS) information sheet on Pesticides and garden products.  The use of certain slug killers can also be dangerous, these are the ones containing Metaldehyde. Ingestion of this substance can lead to convulsions and coma. Others containing ferric phosphate have the potential to cause iron poisoning and gastrointestinal upset.

BBQs and yummy food! We all love an easy fix to getting our BBQ going but ensure BBQ lighter fluid is kept out of reach of your pets. It contains a hydrocarbon fuel which is very irritant to the skin, eyes and gastrointestinal tract.  Contact can result in ulceration, inflammation and burns. Food is also more likely to go mouldy in warm weather so ensure waste is safely disposed of; mouldy food stuff can contain toxic spores resulting in a vomiting, tremors  and a high temperature.

The Veterinary Poisons Information Service (VPIS) has a handy leaflet for you to read too!  If you think your pet has come into contact with any of the above hazards then please phone us on 01606 880890.

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Dental Disease Part 2-Preventative Dental Care-What, How and When?

Teeth brushing; This is considered to be the ‘gold standard’ of preventative dental care. There are many different teeth cleaning kits that include different flavour toothpastes (poultry and beef) and different toothbrush shapes and sizes. The main limitation people find is their pet’s willingness for their teeth to be brushed! It is best to start examining your pets mouth and looking at their teeth at an early age to give you the best chance of being able to do this. They key is to start with little steps and work your way upwards to teeth cleaning. Holding your pet and forcing them to have a full teeth clean at the very start will make them very resentful and anxious of the entire process. 

Diet; in general a solely dry diet is most likely to help keep your pets teeth clean. There are also specially formulated diets which can help with dental health. The basis behind a lot of these diets is that the kibble shape and size is designed to increase abrasion of the teeth. That being said, if your pet’s food barely touches the sides then a dry diet can make little difference!

Dental chews; these chews can help to abrase the surface of your pets teeth too and therefore reduce tartar build up. The same applies as above however with regards to how these chews are eaten! It is also very important to note that these should be used in moderation; they can be very calorific and your pets can quickly gain weight if used too regularly.

Other dental Products; there are different liquid and powder formulations aimed at reducing tartar build up and freshening breath.  

Dental surgery; all of your hard work above will be helping but regular dental checks and appropriate dental procedures are also needed to identify and address dental disease sooner rather than later. Watch out for part 3 where we explain what a dental entails!

If you would like your pet’s teeth examining then our nurses are able assess your pets teeth and discuss the above approaches with you in a free nurse dental check. Please note that if you think your pet is off their food, painful or otherwise unwell then a vet appointment is recommended. Please phone 01606 880890

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