Reflecting back on the week, I thought that I would share a few of the things that clients have told me about their pets that show just how far we have to go with education. I want to start off, continuing on the theme of last weeks dental post. An oral examination, including the mouth, pharynx, teeth and gums, is part of our regular wellness exams. This past week, I had the opportunity to flip up a dog's lip and show the owner the accumulation of tarter that was caked on the outer surface of all of her dog's teeth. It was at this point where she asked, "Why does he have tarter, he just had his teeth cleaned last year?"
A couple of points here. Checking the records I noticed that it was closer to 18 months ago that the teeth were last cleaned. But we all suffer from distortions of time passage, why I am pretty sure that I am still in my early forties. Be that as it may, when it comes to dental health maintenance, our pets are similar to us in many ways. Some have excellent dental health with minimal intervention. Others need to have work done on a regular basis. As owners, we know that we brush our teeth twice a day. (or we should). Still, we need to have our teeth cleaned at least once a year. Very few pet owners ever brush their pet's teeth. So why is it surprising that they need their teeth cleaned annually?
The truth is, proper dental care, along with good nutrition, and appropriate rational vaccination is one of the three most important things that we can do to improve the quality and longevity of our pet's lives. I cleaned my Cookie's teeth every year for 15 years, until underlying health problems such as cancer and heart disease made the procedure more risky. I attribute her long, basically healthy life to her good oral health. It is important for your pets as well.
While we recognize that dental care can be expensive, routine cleanings are less expensive than the major dental work we have to do when teeth are diseased. However, when even routine care is budget busting, we have several payment options for qualified clients. Most are easier and less expensive to qualify for than you would expect.
So when your veterinarian tells you that your pet needs his or her teeth taken care of it does not matter when they were last treated, they need to be treated again. Let's work to keep those pearly whites pearly white and that breath fresh.