Don’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew: Non-Anesthetic Pet Dentistry

Anesthesia is a scary event for many of us. Many pet owners recognize how important professional dental care is for their furry friend, but get a little antsy about the risk (and cost) involved with full anesthesia.

As opportunities arise for pets to receive dental care in other ways, such as a tooth scaling at the groomer or a non-anesthetic dental service facility, it is no wonder that people are jumping on board. But is it really the best choice? Goldorado Animal Hospital hopes that some more context about non-anesthetic pet dentistry will help you to decide how to best proceed with your pet’s care.

Pros and Cons of Non-Anesthetic Pet Dentistry

It is not hard to understand why anesthesia-free dentals are tempting for pet owners. Anesthesia always carries with it some risk, and the monitoring, equipment, training, and time it takes can add expense.

As an AAHA Accredited veterinary hospital we can assure you that we take anesthesia very seriously. Following the more current guidelines and safest practices our staff ensures that your pet’s anesthetic experience is as risk-free as feasibly possible. This is important, because we stand behind the belief that anesthesia is essential for the best dental care.

There are a few reasons that we need to anesthetize your pet in order to provide a thorough oral examination and dental cleaning:

  • Even the most docile pet doesn’t open wide and say “ahhh”, meaning that we cannot fully evaluate every surface of every tooth effectively in an awake animal.
  • 60% of your pet’s teeth, and potential periodontal disease, are under the gumline. We need to take radiographs and probe carefully in order to evaluate the health of each tooth.
  • If we find a problem that requires extraction or other surgical treatment, we can often address it right then and there without the need for another procedure.

This means that anesthesia-free dental cleanings are often incomplete and can create a false sense of security when it comes to oral health.

Potentially Dangerous Territory

Besides being overall a subpar method of dental care, there are some dangerous aspects of non-anesthetic pet dentistry. Consider the following:

  • Most pets will need to be physically restrained in some manner in order to accomplish the task. This can be dangerous for the pet as well as the person performing the cleaning.
  • Because the status of the tooth roots and surrounding bone cannot be assessed, serious and painful issues may go unrecognized. This leads to unnecessary discomfort as well as potential progression of the problem.
  • Some of the instruments utilized in a dental cleaning are quite sharp. Sudden or unexpected movements by the patient can result in injury.
  • Because pets are not intubated during a non-anesthetic dental cleaning, water and other debris can potentially be aspirated.
  • Because anesthesia is regarded as standard of care by organizations such as the American Animal Hospital Association and the American Veterinary Dental College, you can assume that those performing anesthesia-free pet dental care are either lay people or people who do not subscribe to the most current recommendations. Is this who you wish to entrust your pet’s care with?

Anesthesia-free pet dental cleanings may sound appealing, however the old adage that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is stands. Our staff takes your pet’s care to heart, and there is a reason that we insist on anesthetic for all dental exams and cleanings. Give us a call today so that we can formulate a dental care plan for your pet that we all can agree on.

Pet Wellness Care: The Foundation of Good Health and Happiness

pet wellnessAs a pet owner, it’s only natural that you want to ensure a long, happy, and vital life for your fuzzy family member. Sometimes, though, we can take our pet’s health for granted – especially when they are feeling fine and in the prime of life. However, just like with humans, preventive pet wellness care is vital to a quality life, and can lessen your pet’s chances of developing a serious disease.

Pet wellness care is about more than just a simple visit to the vet when your pet is feeling rough, and can play a key role in the bond you share with your pet. Goldorado Animal Hospital champions the benefits of wellness care vs. a “treat only the problem” approach to your pet’s health and daily wellbeing. Here’s why… Read the rest of this entry »

Wildfire Season: Don’t Forget the Pets!

We are in the middle of fire season and it is a good a time as any to remind ourselves that disaster can strike at any time to any one of us, and when it does, we often have minutes, not hours, to gather our things and depart.

Historically, the worst of our fire season happens later in the fall so our message this month is one of being prepared:

  • All pet owners should have easily accessible leashes, carriers, and a three day supply of food and water ready to go in an evacuation kit.
  • If you have cats, a small litter pan (even a cardboard box will do) and litter should also be in the kit. Ideally, pet owners should also have copies of a pet’s most recent vaccinations.
  • Have neighbors who are aware of your pets and willing to help out, and offer the same to them. If there is an evacuation with short warning, you could save each other some major heartbreak.
  • Let rescue workers know you have animals in the house. The ASPCA has a free safety pack so you can place a sticker on your front window alerting personnel that animals are in the home.

  • If you have any questions about preparing your pets for an emergency, we would love to help so feel free to contact us anytime. Stay safe this fire season!

Top Ten New Years Resolutions for You and Your Pet

Setting goals is not just for all of us bipeds, your pets love to get in on the action too! This is a great time of year to take a step back and figure out how to make 2015 the happiest and healthiest yet. We are counting down the top resolutions for both pets and people:

10. Measure Portion Sizes

Most people just eyeball the amount of food we feed ourselves and our pets. That’s why a recent study found reduccat steals sausage from the refrigeratoring dish sizes can help us lose weight – and the same goes for your pets! Rather than just filling their bowl every day (or several times a day), measure out the amount of food according to the feeding guide on your pet food bag. For best results, feed to your pet’s “ideal weight.” This is something that the Goldorado team loves helping out with! Read the rest of this entry »

How to Neuter a Peep…

Happy Easter everybody! Our technician Julie had a new litter join the family (at least for the weekend anyways…) and brought them in for check-ups. It turns out that Peeps get “twitterpated” just like all our other animals so Dr. Prince recommended “fixing” these little guys so Julie wouldn’t be overrun after the holiday.

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Thankfully our surgery team was up to the task and the patient was prepped for his procedure. Preanesthetic bloodwork, pre-operative pain medication, and sedation are all important steps we take to ensure the safety of every patient before surgery: Read the rest of this entry »

Rattlesnake Alert!

We at Goldorado have certainly been loving the warm spring weather and apparently we aren’t the only ones!

This week we have treated two patients who suffered rattlesnake bites. While you are out in El Dorado County with your furry companions, keep a sharp eye out for rattlesnakes and follow these simple tips to keep everyone safe:

Western_Diamondback_Rattlesnake

First, make sure your dog has received the rattlesnake vaccine!

The consequences of a bite can be seen almost immediately and can include severe pain, swelling, bleeding, and drooling. Most of our unvaccinated patients show up to the emergency room looking like this: Read the rest of this entry »