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Teeth cleaning


bc4ever
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Scooter (just turned six in December) had his yearly check up last week and got a clean bill of health (thank doG) but the vet suggested we have his teeth cleaned. She says they're not that bad, but of course I don't want to wait till they are either.

 

My biggest concern is the anesthesia. She said it would probably take about twenty minutes. One of the vet techs would do it, but she'd be there. (In the building?) I just remember when he was neutered he had a really tough time coming out of the anesthetic. Really scared me. Thought we were going to lose him. We've discussed this before and she understands my uneasiness. She's good about not pushing unnecessary procedures or medications, but she did mention that February was dental care month or something and there would be a discount if we had it done then.

 

Am I being overly concerned? How risky is this? I want what's best for him but don't want to do something that could possibly do more harm than good. :(

 

Opinions please!

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Taz is very sensitive to anesthesia, and I am very cautious about any "elective" procedures. A few years ago, he had a foxtail lodged in his nasal passage and we needed to scope it out. We used propofol, which is supposed to cause fewer reactions. One of the vets/techs here might have more info on how accurate this statement is--it may just be a case of propofol being a good choice for my particular dog.

 

With regard to the teeth cleaning, I'd give Scooter a recreational bone once or twice a week for a few weeks to see if that scrapes off the plaque first. If you've not given bones before, I'd recommend a knuckle bone and only let him have it for a few minutes at first (as they can be rich, especially if you can't find knuckle bones and instead must use bones with marrow in them) and gradually increasing the time as his system gets used to them.

 

Good luck!

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I agree with Laurae. Try the bones first for a couple months and see how effective that is. I hesitate to opt for anesthesia if it isn't absolutely necessary. But then, I'm an over protective mom. :P

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Over the years, I've had dogs (and cats) who required dental work/cleaning. My vet treated it like any surgery, i.e., blood work and making sure pet was healthy enough for anethesia. None of my pets ever had a problem - not even a 20 yr old cat who had to have dental surgery to remove a tooth broken at the gumline. Any anethesia carries a risk but so does dental disease.

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If the vet said they were not bad I'd just hunt up some good flat meaty bones, I've had good luck with long rib bones with some rib meat still on them.

 

We have been FYI'ed by our state pet assoc. that teeth cleaning is getting to be a big deal with some pointing to lack of maintenance as a sign of neglect.

 

I have regular cleaning days here at home, everyone get's their teeth examined looking for tartar build up and discoloration, if they need tartar removed I often times can flick it off with my thumb nail, if not I crack out my dental scrapper (don't know the formal name) and I start cleaning. I've found that good flant bones do even a better job but of late we have not had the availability that we have had in the past so I find myself doing a little more cleaning. The only time I've had to take a dog in for dental work was when Vicki needed to have some teeth extracted, her teeth were a wreak when she came her.

 

When our vet was here for our kennel visit he looked at everyone's teeth and was surprised and pleased with their appearance, especially pleased with how easily everyone let him inspect their teeth.

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I like your approach, Debbie. Having the dogs used to having their teeth worked with is a great side benefit. I wonder where one can get the tooth scraper tool?

 

I think mine came from Walmart in the toothpaste aisle, it is for humans and came with a handy round oral mirror.

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I will never anesthetize a dog again unless it's absolutely necessary! For me, that does not include teeth cleaning. Raw meaty bones are the best thing for teeth, and the dogs love them.

 

A few years ago, he had a foxtail lodged in his nasal passage and we needed to scope it out. We used propofol, which is supposed to cause fewer reactions.

 

I had a similar incident, but the propofol put my 11 month old into full cardiac arrest! She recovered, more or less fully, but not without costing me major money, and some real heartache along the way. My understanding is that propofol does lower the heart rate, and my current vet (not the one who put her into arrest) says she always gives atropine as well.

 

But lesson learned: anesthetize only when there's no other way!

A

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I had a similar incident, but the propofol put my 11 month old into full cardiac arrest! She recovered, more or less fully, but not without costing me major money, and some real heartache along the way. My understanding is that propofol does lower the heart rate, and my current vet (not the one who put her into arrest) says she always gives atropine as well.

 

Wow, good to know, Anna. Glad your girl recovered without incident. So your current vet like a propofol/atropine combination?

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A subject very close to my heart, and the reason I changed vets many years ago. Firstly I second meaty bones since introducing them (thanks to repeated recomendations on the board) to the current generation of dogs Brodys teeth have improved tremendously. My current vet also scrapes his teeth at our early visit.

 

Now back to teeth cleaning, my old girl was diagnosed with heartworm when she was about 2.5 and at the same time the vets told me she needed her teeth cleaned. Being an ignorant new dog owner I was already to sign her up but asked a couple of questions and found out she was really going to be put under, this did not seem right considering the heartworm! so we switched vets, Jester finally had her teeth cleaned at 13 when she needed dental work for a cracked mollar. Bandit the border collie had his teeth cleaned twice in his last three years, he basically just had nasty teeth and we could not trust him with bones as he destroyed them in minutes.

 

When both Jester and Bandit had dental work done the vets ran a full panel of blood work and treated it like surgery

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There is no such thing as risk free anesthesia, but there are times that the teeth really do need to be addressed by a veterinarian. Bacteria in the plaque can cause infections in the heart valves, kidneys, brain, liver and other vital organs. Similarly, broken teeth that get infected can seed bacteria into the bloodstream.

 

Please remember that every dog is an individual. They will not respond to drugs the same way other dogs do and their teeth may wear out faster or more slowly. I had a dog that would not chew bones. His teeth were also on the soft side. During his first dental at just 2 years old he had a nasty reaction to one of the drugs used. For his subsequent dental cleanings (he needed 3 more during his life) he only went under if attended to by a board certified anesthesiologist. It was much more expensive, but he never had another problem and I had peace of mind. (There are plenty of alternative drugs to use if one causes a problem!)

 

I've had other dogs who never needed their teeth cleaned despite chewing on bones less than I would have liked.

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