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Safe to have senior dog's teeth cleaned?


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We adopted Daniel, a senior, rough collie, a few weeks ago. His breath was atrocious and the vet put him on antibiotics to clear up infection. Breath is better, but Saturday he started having trouble eating his kibble. I soaked it in water and that worked for one feeding, then he stopped eating. He's now on canned food, which he scarfs down, but still seems to have problems actually chewing.

 

We finally got his medical records and he seems to have had problems with his teeth for some time, along with some food allergies. When he went for his vet visit two weeks ago he weighed 48 pounds, which, after reading his records, is the most he's ever weighed. Also, depending on which record I read, he's anywhere between 8 and 11 years old; sometimes a week between visits! Same vet office.

 

I'm concerned about his health. I know the teeth can cause a variety of problems, and he certainly can't afford to lose weight. We've made an appointment for him to have his teeth cleaned(what's left of them). I'm concerned about his age and the anesthetic, but I feel we don't have much choice if he can't eat.

 

He's such a sweetheart too. It makes me angry that no one in all those years saw fit to take care of his teeth. They kept him up to date on vaccines. Praying he comes through this okay and his quality of life will improve. He is in good health, other than the teeth. :(

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Did you do lab work to check his liver and kidney values before you put him under? If not, I would insist on it just to be safe make sure there's no concerns there.

 

A cleaning may not be enough...are any of his teeth to the point where they need to bo pulled? Bear (11 years old) just had to have one tooth pulled pulled about 6 weeks ago, in addition to a cleaning. He had premolar with a slab fracture that was really bugging him. He took a long time to recover from the affects of anesthesia when he had to be knocked out several years ago so I was worried, but he did fine this time and was all gung-ho to start chewing on stuff the next day (which meant we had to keep a very close eye on him to keep him from doing so).

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I don't know where in Ohio you are located but the is a world class vet dentist (literally!) in Ann Arbor MI. He is Dr. Ben Colmery at the Dixboro Vet/Dental clinic. Sometimes it takes a couple weeks to get an appointment but I would highly recommend him.

 

And whomever you see it is imperitive you get bloodwork done first!

 

My two cents

Jennifer

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He just had lab work done two weeks ago and everything looked good, which is encouraging. I remember when Scooter was neutered, he had a rough time coming out of the anesthesia and he was young. It really scared us.

 

I know he's missing a few teeth, but not sure what shape the rest are in. I wasn't real eager to go messing around in his mouth, not knowing him that well yet. He may need some pulled, but hopefully not. Poor guy.

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We just had Nellie's teeth cleaned earlier this year and she is 10 years old. We also had some X-rays and a mass removed from her belly. Our vet said that there is a different type of anesthesia used for older dogs. She came through fine and I am sure that your guy will do fine also.

 

I would highly recommend the pre procedure bloodwork and EKG to be safe. I believe our vet used propofol on Nellie, which did concern me a little, but I trust our vet and knew he would do whatever he could to make sure she was ok.

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I had a 14 year old mini Dachshund in for a cleaning and check-up, and she had to have four teeth removed. She came through it fine. It is very important to get prescreening bloodwork done before putting an older dog under. My Dachshund didn't have issues with anesthesia though.

 

I'm a little nervous about Hannah going under because she had a bad reaction to telazol, but my Veterinarian didn't go through with the (spay) procedure and, on the second try a month later, switched her to something she can tolerate. Thankfully, my Vet. monitors well.

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My late old lady GSDx had her teath done when she was 12, this was the only time she ever had it done and it was needed as she had a cracked moler. We did do a blood panel and she came through fine. Our late border collie had his teeth done when he was about 11, he just had awfull teeth. He also had no problems.

Hope all goes smoothly.

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Also just an anecdote, but Ody had several dental procedures (cleaning, extractions, lasering off diseased gum) done shortly after we got him, at age 12. As everyone has noted, it can be a stressful situation for the human, but it's a matter of finding out as much as you can with the bloodwork and then weighing the risks and benefits of each option.

 

Best wishes to Daniel, and congratulations on adopting him.

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We just had Nellie's teeth cleaned earlier this year and she is 10 years old. We also had some X-rays and a mass removed from her belly. Our vet said that there is a different type of anesthesia used for older dogs. She came through fine and I am sure that your guy will do fine also.

 

 

A couple of years ago, we had our older (~11 years old) dog put under for a dental procedure. I was worried about the anaesthetic effects, but my vet reassured me that current anaesthetics are better tolerated than those used years ago. (We also did the pre-surgery bloodwork.) My dog came through it fine. If your vet is up-to-date with current technology, he/she should be able to use a 'milder' anaesthetic.

 

Yes, as several posters have said, one must weigh the risks and benefits of each approach.

 

Good Luck,

 

Jovi

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I don't know, I wouldn't worry much about it. Vets have lots of experience with putting older dogs under anesthesia because as they age, dogs are more likely to need a surgical procedure of one kind or another. A good vet will do any blood work or other analysis they feel is necessary.

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I was worried about the same thing with Speedy, but had to go through with it because he needed a bunch of teeth removed.

 

It helped him so much afterward that I've always been glad I had it done. He feels much better with those teeth out.

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