“The best he’s been in years Doc”. That was the verdict of Spooky’s owner, Bob, after he’d had his dental work at Double Bay Vet Clinic last week.
When I first met Spooky (who’s a nine year old Jack Russell Terrier with a wicked overbite) his breath would quite literally have knocked you flat on your back. The smell was horrible and it didn’t take long to find out why. One lift of the lip and the amount of pus and infection that had developed around almost all of his incisor teeth was clear to see.
Rather typically though, the dog didn’t come in for this problem. He came in because he’d broken a nail on his foot! The dental disease was only spotted when we were checking the rest of him over.
Worried in Woollahra
Getting Spooky’s treatment organised was far from easy. Bob was very worried that his age meant he would have problems under anaesthetic. He’d also heard from a friend that dentistry could be risky.
After much hand holding and explaining of how we minimise the risks of anaesthetic, and that leaving Spooky’s teeth in such bad condition was a far higher risk than any surgery. Bob agreed to have Spooky’s teeth done.
The anaesthetic and dental went well. In fact, they usually do. I’ve personally done more than 5000 anaesthetics and roughly 2500 dental procedures in my career and not had any serious problems. (Yes I am touching wood, so as not to invoke the wrath of the veterinary gods!)
Dog Breath Gone
With five teeth missing, Spooky had a rearranged smile when he went home. Already though, his smelt better than before. One week later he was back for his recheck. And that’s when a delighted Bob revealed that his companion was “brighter than ever”. In fact he had begun to bark and play again, something he’d not done for years. Bob was also enjoying kisses from Spooky again without the attending dog breath (which we’re told was not dissimilar to Sydney’s famous fish market!)
There are three lessons to be learned from Spooky’s adventure. The first is that a regular check up at the vet is the best way of getting peace of mind that everything is OK.
The second is that dog breath is not normal. It is a sign of serious, often painful disease that is affecting your pet more than you think. That’s why Spooky had given up barking – he probably had such a toothache that shouting at the top of his voice made his head hurt more!
The third lesson is that we all get worried about anaesthetics and operations, that’s human nature. But while we can’t tell you that they are ‘no risk’, we can promise you that we do everything possible to make them very low risk in the majority of cases.
Australian Pet Dental Month
If your pet seems to be slowing down, then there’s a three in four chance that rotten teeth may be playing a part. The tell tale symptom is smelly breath, so have a sniff today. (But not too close, we don’t want you passing out. )
If you’d like a slightly more professional check up then we are offering all clients a free pet dental check up during August. Then, if your pet needs any further treatment then you’ll get 10% off if you have it done this month. Just call 93634045 to book your appointment. Like Bob and Spooky, you’ll be glad you did.