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Pet Dentistry & Pet Allergies

A Dental Visit to Orange Veterinary Clinic
What happens when my pet has her teeth cleaned? Well, we always try to make the experience the best one possible for everyone involved. We take a lot of precautions to keep your pet safe and as pain-free as possible.

Fast Your Pet
To begin, we have you fast your pet the night before her dental cleaning. When you come in the morning of her cleaning, we will have an anesthesia release for you to fill in and an estimate of possible charges for the cleaning. Until we remove tartar and do a more complete exam in her mouth, we will not know if, or how many potential extractions there will be.

Anesthesia
The next part of our process will be to prepare her for anesthesia. She will have a short blood screen to make sure there are no problems with her organs that would make anesthesia dangerous for her. When that is done, she will have a pre-operative sedative and pain reliever injection. She will be allowed to get sleepy for a few minutes. Next, she will have some anesthetic gas delivered by a mask.

When your pet is fully unconscious, a tube is placed in her throat to protect her airway from water, bits of tartar, and tooth polish. It also allows us to deliver oxygen and anesthesia to her.

We will place an I.V. catheter in her leg. She will also be hooked to a heart monitor that will keep track of her heart, her oxygen levels, and her blood pressure. This is a secondary safeguard to the person who will be caring for her. She will have blankets and hot water bottles to keep her warm.

Dental Procedures
Now we move on to her dental cleaning. To begin, your pet will get an injection of antibiotics to combat the bacteria we will release when we scale her teeth.

Then we use our ultrasonic scaler to clean her teeth. This is a machine like the one your dentist uses for your teeth. Then we hand scale any areas we need to pay more attention to.

Next we polish all the teeth to seal the little pores in the enamel and smooth any imperfections from scaling. Then we do a complete oral exam. We probe the gums around all the teeth to check for gum recession, pockets under the gum line, and loose teeth.

We note any abnormalities of the teeth, gums, tongue, and palate. If there are any abnormalities, the doctor will call to let you know what we have found and what our plan is.

We will then remove any teeth that are too diseased to stay. Sometimes, this is simple and requires little effort as the tooth is nearly falling out. However, sometimes it requires a great deal of skill.

A novocaine-like numbing injection is given to allow for additional pain relief that lasts for several hours. When the mouth is cleaned, the exam is done and teeth are extracted, we move on to a thorough rinse of the whole oral cavity to remove debris, tooth polish, and blood.

The mouth is then rinsed with chlorhexidine gel. This is an antibacterial solution that inhibits bacteria growth for around 18 hours. This gives time for the gums to seal back to the teeth without so much bacteria present. 

Aftercare
Now it is time for her to wake up. She will be taken off the anesthetic gas and given pain medication.

When she is recovering, she will be dried off, have her nails trimmed, ears checked, and, if she needs one, a fecal parasite (worm) check is done.

Your pet will have hot water bottles and blankets to help her maintain her body temperature, as she did during anesthesia. She will be monitored closely.

She will have a potty break to help her to get anesthesia out of her system.

When she goes home you will receive care instructions, toothpaste, a toothbrush, a dental chart detailing her oral health (any extracted teeth will be noted on it), and a guide to help you learn to brush her teeth. 

Allergies in Pets
Any critter with an immune system can get allergies. Very simply, allergies are the result of an individual's immune system overreacting to something foreign to the body. This could be food, pollen, or even medication.

While people often have assorted breathing issues, allergies in cats and dogs usually manifest as skin problems. There are many afflictions of the skin, and it can be difficult to pinpoint an exact cause. Often there are multiple causes in play at once.

If allergies are a root cause to skin problems, often there are associated bacterial or fungal infections. An animal can lose hair and scratch, lick, and chew at itself. This could be all over the body or in particular areas such as the paws.

Pets with allergies may have chronic ear problems as well, since the ear canal is still part of the skin system. It is rare that a pet has an allergy to one thing; usually there are multiple offenders.
 
Skin Problems     
Dealing with any skin problem requires visits to the veterinarian. The doctor will assess your pet's overall health and recommend multiple diagnostic tests to rule out parasite, bacterial, yeast, or ringworm infection.     

Current symptoms may be treated with antifungals, steroids, anti-itch medication, antibiotics, medicated shampoos, skin cleansers, and supplements to support the skin. Many of these medications are available as prescription only, or long-term use may have side effects.

If the skin problems continue chronically, the veterinarian may recommend changing the diet to see if there could be an allergen in the food. Beef, corn, and wheat have been specifically mentioned as possible allergens.

The diet needs to be strictly adhered to for at least 12 weeks to see improvement. The veterinarian may also recommend further diagnostic testing or referral to a veterinary dermatologist in an attempt to find out the exact allergens in food or environment.

Though a veterinarian needs to be consulted for a pet with allergies, you can do a few things at home to help with symptoms:

• Thoroughly wipe off your pet's coat and paws with a damp cloth when coming in from outside.
   This will help remove some pollen and other environmental allergens.
• Routinely clean out your pet's ears with an ear cleaner at least once a week.
• Put your pet on a high-quality, low or no grain, or hypoallergenic formula.
• Add high-quality fish oil to the diet as a supplement for skin and coat.
• Pure aloe vera (no additives) can be applied topically to raw areas to help soothe the skin.
• Thoroughly clean out and dry the ears after a swim or bath.
• Make sure your house and yard are flea-free and flea prevention is applied regularly.