pet advice


words by
catherine harper // Barossa Veterinary clinic

After all the usual stuff: vaccination, parasite prevention and diet, the most common preventative care concern in all our domestic pets is dental health. 

Just like humans, the dental health of our pets and horses is an integral part to their well being and we know that poor dental health can contribute to chronic disease and a shortened lifespan.

With statistics from the Australian Veterinary Association suggesting that four out of five pets over the age of three have some form of dental disease, it is something to proactively prevent. 

The good news is there are many ways that we can prevent dental disease from causing long term issues in our furry friends. 

An oral hygiene assessment is part of a routine examination at your pet’s annual health check and your vet will inform you as to any emerging issues and the options for assisting with management.

Just because a pet is eating does not mean there is not an issue and certainly does not mean they are not in pain.

It is at this point that action needs to be taken and ‘we’ (the vet team and the owner) need to act and implement this plan immediately.

Some of the proactive services now offered include:

Free dental check with nurses for all dogs, cats and pocket pets. Nurse consultations for regular tooth brushing. Set price dental procedures called Comprehensive Oral Health Assessments and Scale and Polish to ensure maintenance of oral health and allow planning for future therapy if required.

In addition, there are many things you can do at home and these may be recommended by your vet:

Brush or use special wipes to clean your pet’s teeth. Specially designed chews (not just dentastix) to clean and prevent reformation of tartar. Water and food additives that help prevent tartar from forming. Diets specifically formulated to prevent tartar formation and assist with cleaning. 

It is also important not to forget our horsey friends!

Horses’ require dental assessment and treatment at least annually to ensure good oral hygiene and this can only be done appropriately using sedation and a super bright light source, only available through your veterinarian.

Horses’ teeth grow continually for much of their life and this can cause sharp ridges and hooks on the teeth which in turn can cause ulceration and difficulty prehending food. 

Additionally, if riding your horse regularly, poor dental health can affect the horse’s willingness to take the bit due to pain and can lead to poor behaviour.

Just like our household pets, booking an annual health check and dental assessment for your horse is an essential part of their wellbeing. 

We know that if actions are taken in the early stage of dental disease, changes are reversible, but if left untreated can lead to severely infected teeth and gums which can require extractions and lengthy surgical procedures to correct. 

Save you and your pet some pain and discomfort and make oral hygiene part of their routine too. 

Catherine Harper

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