Vet Services Hawkes Bay Ltd

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The Forgotten Pearls

Annelise Enslin

In our working dogs and pet animals it is relatively common for owners to routinely spot the lameness, the wound or the upset guts, but what about those hidden pearly whites??

How often do we really take the time to lift the lips and have a look at our dogs’ eating utensils? A fork won’t work without its teeth and neither will a knife without its blade. The same applies to our dogs’ mouths.

The biggest culprits for broken, abnormally worn and infected teeth are BONES, BONES, chewing on other things they shouldn’t - like kennelling material, trauma of some sort and BONES.

Once a tooth is broken or worn sufficiently, the pulp cavity becomes exposed to the environment. The pulp cavity houses the blood vessels and nerves that keeps the tooth alive and healthy. Once exposed it acts as a highway for bacteria to make their way up to the tip of the root where it causes a tooth root abscess. This can be seen as localised swelling under the eye, swelling of the muzzle and/or abnormal discharge from the nostril and in some cases not chewing their food, or chewing on just one side of the mouth.

We are all aware of the severe and sharp pain associated with cavities and tooth root abscesses and it is no different for our dogs and cats. Chewing food aids in its digestion, and just swallowing without chewing may predispose our pets to other issues like choking or bloat. Chronic infection associated with the affected teeth can also result in seeding of bacteria that can cause disease processes in the heart, kidney, liver and even the eyes. These chronic inflammatory conditions, apart from being extremely painful, also tax our animals’ energy and immune systems.

Please don’t let them suffer in silence….let them eat comfortably every day.

Do not forget their pearls and lift those lips!!!!

Look for abnormal swellings around the face, stink breath, broken teeth, discoloured teeth and angry sore looking gums. If you are unsure or would like your animal’s mouth examined, give us a call, we are happy to help!


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