Podcast: your questions on pet dental health with Dr Patrick Mahaney

This month, we are talking pet dentals. It’s Pet Dental Health Month according to the AVMA so it’s as good a time as any to talk about teeth and pets and why keeping teeth healthy is good for your pet’s overall health.

In our podcast, Dr Patrick and I address the following questions:

What is the current status of dog and cat dental health - good, bad, or plain ugly?

Why is brushing your pet's teeth so important? How can you make it a positive and simple daily task if you're just beginning to brush their teeth?

What are some examples of instances when it might be best to forgo dental care?

What OTC products work best for helping to control dental tartar, etc. (examples are the water additives, gels, chews, etc.) for your pet in addition to brushing their teeth?

I've heard that once you do a dental cleaning, you have to continue doing them regularly because it wears away the teeth and leaves them vulnerable. Is that true?

Click on the link below to hear the audio:

Laura Bennett & Dr Patrick Mahaney Pet Dental Month
 

Related Posts
February is Pet Dental Health Month at Embrace Pet Insurance
Guest Post: why do a dog or cat dental cleaning?
Podcast: your questions on pet dental health with Dr Patrick Mahaney

Other posts by Dr Patrick Mahaney


Dr Patrick MahaneyDr. Mahaney is a veterinarian from the University of Pennsylvania and a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist, having been inspired by his own chronic pain from Intervertebral Disc Disease to provide accupuncture to his veterinary clients. In addition to Dr Mahaney's house call integrative veterinary medicine business, California Pet Acupuncture and Wellness, he sees patients on an in-clinic basis at Veterinary Cancer Group in Culver City, CA. Dr Mahaney writes a veterinary column (Patrick's Blog) forwww.PatrickMahaney.com and contributes to a variety of media, including Perez Hilton's TeddyHilton.com, Fido Friendly, Veterinary Practice News, Healthy Pets and People with Dr Patrick on OutImpactRadio.com, and MSNBC Sunday with Alex Witt and Career Day. His first book, The Uncomfortable Vet, will be available in 2014 through Havenhurst Books

 



Guest Post: why do a dog or cat dental cleaning?

Embrace friend and advisor, Dr Rex Riggs, talks about why you should go ahead with the expense of a dental cleaning under anesthesia with X-rays. It's needed people!


Periodontal disease is the most common disease seen in our pets. Think about it. If we did not brush our teeth, used no mouthwash, ate whatever we can put in our mouth including, for dogs, that tasty hors d’ourve, the ever popular cat turd, what would our teeth look like? Put on top of this chomping down on deer antlers, bones, and nylabones, and you get a lot of chipped and broken teeth.

How many of us have had root canals?  They are a result of tooth root abscesses and they hurt like a mother. Dogs and cats have these same tooth root abscesses and continue to eat. They are great at hiding their pain.  How they do that is beyond me.  Did I mention tooth root abscesses hurt like a mother? 

Dental care in our pets is so important to the animal’s wellbeing and quality of life.  The plaque, which accumulates on the teeth, is just a harbouring site for bacteria that can be responsible for gingivitis as well as for infections a long way from teeth, such as the heart valves and kidneys, once it gets seeded in the blood stream. Dental health is not something to overlook.

Do you have some reservations about pet dentals, perhaps because of recent media stories? Recently ABC did a 20/20 story that talked about how vets use dentals as a scare tactic for clients to schedule dentals strictly as a underhanded way to make money.  They implied dental x-rays in our pets are just not needed.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

There is a great article, "How Honest is your Veterinarian" written by Steve Dale, who is a journalist, not a veterinarian, about this piece of yellow journalism, and how it's simply not true.  It is a very good read if you have a moment.

Dental radiography is very important in veterinary medicine and I would go as far as to say a vet should not be doing dentals without the ability to do intra-oral x-rays. You just can’t see what is going on under the gums where about 60% of the tooth lies.  Tooth root abscesses (which looks like a black halo around the root), bone loss around the tooth, and fractured roots are just three of the things you need an x-ray to diagnose.  Sometimes there are extra teeth, called supranumary teeth, lurking beneath the gum line. You would not be able to tell all these problems were going on just by looking at the teeth, even under anesthesia.

Check out the document below with radiographs illustrating the wonders of dental radiology. You will soon see that a lot of what is shown could not be seen with out x-rays.

Download Dental X Rays in dogs

 

Related Posts
February is Pet Dental Health Month at Embrace Pet Insurance
Guest Post: why do a dog or cat dental cleaning?

Other posts by Dr Riggs


Dr_RiggsDr. Rex Riggs grew up in Wadsworth, Ohio, near Akron. Dr Riggs is co-owner of Best Friends Veterinary Hospital in Powell, Ohio. He is also on the board of the North Central Region of Canine Companions of Independence, a board member of The Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine Alumni Society and Small Animal Practitioner Advancement Board at The Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Riggs lives in Lewis Center, OH with his wife Nancy, their dogs Maggie and Ossa, and cat Franklin. Outside of work, Dr. Riggs is an avid golfer and cyclist, and enjoys travel and photography.



February is Pet Dental Health Month at Embrace Pet Insurance

Did you know that you cannot tell if your cat or dog has periodontal disease by the color of his or her gums?

I did not know that until a few weeks ago. Wouldn't you think that you would see more inflamed gums in pets with periodontal disease?

So what is periodontal disease then? Our friend, Tracy Libby, elaborates:

Periodontal disease is the progressive loss or destruction of the tissues that hold the teeth in the jaws. It starts the same way in dogs as it does in humans - with plaque buildup around and under the gum line. One milligram of dental plaque contains millions of bacteria! 

In the mood to lear more about periodontal disease? Check out Tracy's article on  "Protecting Your Dog from Dental Dangers".

Which leads me to our theme of the month - pet dental health. It really should be the theme for life, not just one month a year, but it's good to highlight a few pointers every year just to jog our memory (or learn something new.)

If you want some excellent reading on the topic, check out these articles in the Waterbowl:

There are so many more listed on our general pet medical articles page. Help yourself!



Podcast: Dr Patrick Mahaney on the Importance of Cat and Dog Training

This month, we are delving into the topic of pet training. And why would you train your dog or cat?  Dr Patrick discusses the reasons for training your dog or cat and answers the questions below.

  1. Kristin: My dog is highly trained in all areas, except for the fact that he loses his mind when he sees another dog or a child. He just wants to run over and play with them! All training goes out the window when he sees them, and he stops listening. Any suggestions to keep him focused given these distractions?
  2. Jenna: how do I make him stop barking at me when he wants something? (to cuddle, to go out, to play, to...I don’t even know) I have tried ignoring him, but he doesn't get it.
  3. And another from Jenna: how do I stop counter surfing and stopping him eating things off the ground outside (gum, cig butts, etc.)
  4. Katie: please, any new anti-barking training techniques?
  5. Kate: anything new on separation anxiety or resource guarding?

Also, I add a tidbit that I have found very helpful with my cats to prevent them from scratching the furniture. If they do it, I picked them up and put them with their paws up against one of our three scratching posts in the living room. When they eventually scratch the post by themselves, they get lots of praise and tickles. Now, they only scratch the furniture every now and then and only when I’m there just to get attention. Nothing is perfect.

As promised in the podcast, here's a video of Louie "asking" to go out (and is the cause of question 2 from Jenna) 

Click on the link below to hear our podcast.

Laura Bennett and Dr Patrick Mahaney Pet Training 2014

 

Related Posts
January is Pet Training Month at Embrace Pet Insurance
Guest Post: an important reason to train your dog
Podcast: Dr Patrick Mahaney on the Importance of Cat and Dog Training

Other posts by Dr Patrick Mahaney


Dr Patrick MahaneyDr. Mahaney is a veterinarian from the University of Pennsylvania and a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist, having been inspired by his own chronic pain from Intervertebral Disc Disease to provide accupuncture to his veterinary clients. In addition to Dr Mahaney's house call integrative veterinary medicine business, California Pet Acupuncture and Wellness, he sees patients on an in-clinic basis at Veterinary Cancer Group in Culver City, CA. Dr Mahaney writes a veterinary column (Patrick's Blog) forwww.PatrickMahaney.com and contributes to a variety of media, including Perez Hilton's TeddyHilton.com, Fido Friendly, Veterinary Practice News, Healthy Pets and People with Dr Patrick on OutImpactRadio.com, and MSNBC Sunday with Alex Witt and Career Day. His first book, The Uncomfortable Vet, will be available in 2014 through Havenhurst Books

 

 



Guest Post: an important reason to train your dog

Dr Rex Riggs gives a veterinarian's perspective on why you should train your dog or cat.

I bet many people don’t think of the health benefits of having a well-trained dog.

We see far too many hit by car dogs in our practice. Many of these dogs are running away from the owner and just dart across the street. A well trained dog also has a much lower chance of sneaking away and getting into toxic things or other dangers. Think of how far fewer dog fights we would see if our dogs were more socialized and trained.

Having a well-trained dog is less stressful for you and your dog!

From my perspective though, the most important aspect of training and socialization, for both dogs and cats, is that when they need medical attention, they will allow us to treat them.

Some of my favorite clients, and definitely my technicians' favorites, are service dogs. Service dogs are dogs trained to help disabled people accomplish daily chores. It is so easy when these dogs come in to our vet hospital. When we need to draw blood we say “paw”, and up comes a front leg for easy access to a vein. When we need to palpate the abdomen, we say “stand” and they stand at attention. When we need to take radiographs, we say “stay”, and they don’t move.

Boy is that nice. My technicians said if all our dogs were service dog they just might work for free. Ok…they didn’t say that, but it sure would make our job so much easier. The reality is all our dogs are not well trained like service dogs and some are… well let’s just say a challenge.

This is a huge problem in all veterinary hospitals. If a dog or cat, growls, hisses, scratches or tries to bite people, it is really difficult and sometimes impossible to handle them. Yes, we can sometimes muzzle them or sedate them, but that is far from ideal and often medically dangerous for the pet.

Untrained or unsocialized animals visit to the vet are so stressful to the animal, vet and to the owner. I know of many veterinarians that who refuse to see certain breeds and unruly animals because it is just too dangerous to the veterinary staff.

Unfortunately many owners, solution is to just stop seeking veterinary care for such animals. Then you need to ask, is that fair for the pet? Is the pet really being taken care of properly? Is the owner’s life enriched by pet ownership, or does it add more stress to their life? Why do you have a pet?

So please get your dog trained as young as you can so you and your pet can enjoy each other. Do your research when you are looking for a trainer. There are many so called trainers, who are either not trained at all or trained in questionable methods. If a trainer wants to use a shock collar, walk away. They do not train a dog, it just breaks the dog’s spirit. If they want to use them, have them put on the collar and have them shock themselves. Take a look at this YouTube video. 

 

Just like anything else there are many theories on how best to train dogs. Keep an open mind and if it doesn’t make logical sense, it is probably is not the best way.

Related Posts
January is Pet Training Month at Embrace Pet Insurance
Guest Post: an important reason to train your dog
Podcast: Dr Patrick Mahaney on the Importance of Cat and Dog Training

Other posts by Dr Riggs


Dr_RiggsDr. Rex Riggs grew up in Wadsworth, Ohio, near Akron. Dr Riggs is co-owner of Best Friends Veterinary Hospital in Powell, Ohio. He is also on the board of the North Central Region of Canine Companions of Independence, a board member of The Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine Alumni Society and Small Animal Practitioner Advancement Board at The Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Riggs lives in Lewis Center, OH with his wife Nancy, their dogs Maggie and Ossa, and cat Franklin. Outside of work, Dr. Riggs is an avid golfer and cyclist, and enjoys travel and photography.





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