Hi, It's Dr Liz here.
There is a misconception amongst some people, that pets do not need "dentals". These people believe that it is perfectly possible to scrape the "disease" off the tooth, and that it is overservicing for a pet to have an anaesthetic to have it's teeth examined and assessed.
Well, they are wrong. If I listened to them, then these pets below would still be in pain with their "hidden" dental disease, until the "shit hit the fan" - for example, in Indy and Candy's case - it would be when the jaw broke, or in Timmy's case, when he literally would be unable to eat. In Jessi's case, she already had the infection seeping through the top of her nose from her dental disease - so it was already quite advanced by the time we diagnosed and extracted the right tooth.
We all agree that pet's deserve a pain free life, and we all know that dental disease affects more than 80% of pets older than 3 years of age. This is a fact. The sad thing about facts, is no matter what lies are spread, facts are still facts.
But a little known fact is that dental disease is not an old pet disease. Young pets can get severe dental problems too.
Indy was only 2 years old when we diagnosed her dentigerous cyst, and Candy had just turned 3. In other words, dental pain and disease is not an old pet disease! My own cat, Dash, had her first resorptive tooth extraction at 8 months of age.
Here are some of my beautiful animalclinic family members that I have been fortunate enough to look after.
Special Indi - diagnosing my first "Dentigerous Cyst".
Indi was only 3 when she came in for a tooth abscess on her right upper jaw. She is a happy bouncy Boxer! When we anaesthetised her, we found that she was "missing teeth" on her left lower jaw - so "what the hell", I thought, and xrayed it (which is best practice anyway). Any pet where there are missing teeth should ALWAYS have that area radiographed to make sure.
Well, this is what we found - a big black hole with a tooth fragment in it - her unerupted first premolar. My first dentigerous cyst. I was excited... and I was shattered - as I knew what this would mean for beautiful bouncy (part kangaroo) Indy.
This was quite a larger cyst, so a referral to Sydney Pet Dentistry was in order, and as a result, that cyst was removed.
Indy lost her lower canine, and two other teeth in the process.
But the size of the culprit tooth - look at it compared to the 5 c piece - it was tiny!
A "dentigerous cyst" is a preventable condition - removing unerupted first premolars is my second most common dental procedure performed at the time of desexing (with the first one being extraction of retained baby teeth). It is unfortunate that many thought that "missing teeth was normal" or "never knew of a dog with a problem" and therefore (understandably) ignored it.
Jessi's story - The "tooth abscess" - it's not always the tooth you think it is.
Young Candy - Finding the hidden disease in a pet's mouth
My special boy Timmy = Resorptive lesions in cats - and the things can go wrong during dental extractions.
A big thank you to the parents of Indy, Candy, Jessi and Timmy for allowing me to share their stories. A thank you also to Dr Christine Hawke of Sydney Pet Dentistry who is so patient when she sees my "its Liz from Russell Vale vets" emails, and my many questions that I ask!
If there are any comments or questions, do not be frightened to sing out.
as I am always willing to help as much as I can.