Not All Dentals are Created Equal

My dog, Kit Kat, LOVES giving kisses.  You can't touch her without her tongue sneaking in for a lick!  So when she came up to me with her breath smelling like rotting fish on a hot summer day, I decided that home brushing wasn't enough and we needed professional intervention!

How does a dental cleaning work?

Just like human dentistry, our dogs and cats get their teeth cleaned and polished.  The only difference is that dogs and cats won't sit patiently with their mouths open, so we have to anesthetize them.  (Come to think of it, some of my friends don't sit patiently with their mouths open at the dentist either...)


Dental Prep

Kit Kat getting her IV catheter placed  by Cara and Mel for fluid administration.

Kit Kat getting her IV catheter placed  by Cara and Mel for fluid administration.

After your pet has an exam by the veterinarian, their blood may be drawn to check for underlying issues with the liver, kidneys, and healing factors.  The results are done in 20 minutes and based on those results, the patient is pre-medicated with a light sedative.

An IV catheter is placed so that fluids can be administered during this lengthy procedure to keep them hydrated, to keep the blood pressure to a normal level, and to flush the kidneys and liver of the anesthetic medications.

After administering the anesthetic medication, the patient is intubated (a tube is placed in the trachea) and put on an oxygen and anesthetic gas mixture to keep them asleep during the procedure.

Heart rate, breathing, blood oxygen levels, and temperature are monitored by a machine as well as the assisting veterinary technician as a double-check system.

Warm blankets, water bottles, and other warming methods are used to keep the pet's temperature from getting too cold.


Radiographs (X-Rays)

Kit Kat's teeth look to be in good shape!

Kit Kat's teeth look to be in good shape!

In most practices, dogs and cats also get radiographs (x-rays) of their mouth to look for underlying issues that physical examination cannot reveal.  Our veterinarians look for abscesses, broken roots, nerve exposure, bone damage, and tumors.  This saves your pet from having to go under anesthesia a second time for an issue that could have been dealt with during the first dental.  It saves you money also.

Taking x-rays of Kit Kat's mouth

Taking x-rays of Kit Kat's mouth

Elishia taking x-rays

Elishia taking x-rays

Healthy teeth with good roots.

Healthy teeth with good roots.


Cleaning and charting

We use an ultrasonic scaler that cleans the teeth quickly with minimal damage to the enamel.

We use hand scalers as well to get into the tight crevices and areas where the ultrasonic scaler cannot go.

After cleaning the teeth, the veterinarian goes in and charts each tooth and checks the gums and mouth to look for obvious signs of disease.  

The veterinarian also looks at the radiographs to make a better decision about the affected tooth.  This is helpful when deciding to keep a tooth or extract one.

This is where the doctor documents their findings.

This is where the doctor documents their findings.

Ultrasonic Scaler

Ultrasonic Scaler

Elishia hand scaling Kit Kat's teeth.

Elishia hand scaling Kit Kat's teeth.


Dental Extraction

Baby teeth and an abscessed tooth that had to be cut in half prior to extraction. (Not Kit Kat's teeth)

Baby teeth and an abscessed tooth that had to be cut in half prior to extraction. (Not Kit Kat's teeth)

Rotten teeth (Not Kit Kat's teeth)

Rotten teeth (Not Kit Kat's teeth)

Tooth extraction happens for a variety of reasons.  The pet could have retained baby teeth that never fell out when the adult teeth came in.  This causes infection to go directly to the adult tooth and can harm it.

There may be an abscessed tooth that is painful or causing infection to spread to the other teeth.  This tooth may not be able to be salvaged, so it is extracted.

Bacteria, tarter, and plaque spread beneath the gum-line and loosens the tooth from the gums causing the tooth to be mobile; this type of tooth is extremely nasty and can spread bacteria to the heart, liver, and kidneys; everywhere the pet's blood flows is affected and can cause organs to not function well.


Polish, Rinse, Repeat

Polish and rinse

Polish and rinse

After cleaning, charting, and extracting, the last step is polishing and rinsing.  Polishing helps get rid of the extra fine areas the scalers couldn't reach as well as smooth any scratches that may have been caused on the enamel.  

The rinse helps freshen the breath and put a layer of enzymes to help protect the teeth until home care can be started.


Fantastic Results

Left Side Before

Left Side Before

Left Side After

Left Side After

Right Side Before

Right Side Before

Right Side After

Right Side After


Home Care Goodies

Free Dental Kit (Size varies)

Free Dental Kit (Size varies)

Now that you have invested your time and money into getting your pet's teeth back to square one, it's important to keep it that way as long as you can!  We send home a free goodie bag full of home care supplies to get you started.

t/d Dental Care from Hill's Prescription Diet is a maintenance diet that is designed to help scrape plaque off the teeth.

Clenz-a-dent Chews have an enzyme that protects the teeth as your dog chews

Dentahex Oral Rinse is a great mouthwash to use if you have difficulties brushing your pet's teeth.

C.E.T. Toothpaste and Toothbrush are to be used, at a minimum, 3 times a week for good results.

 


How to brush your pet's teeth

(Click on picture for a larger view.)


You get what you pay for

Now that you know our high standard of care with our dental cleanings, it is important to always ask the right questions of your veterinarian.

  1. Does your pet have blood work prior to anesthesia?
  2. Do they get any IV fluids?
  3. Are they monitored during and after their procedure?
  4. Do they do dental x-rays?
  5. Do they give a home care kit?

Here at Davis Animal Hospital, we strive to give your pet the best care available, while keeping costs reasonable for the Pensacola area.  

If you have questions or need to schedule a dental cleaning, please call us at 850-479-9484.

Happy Brushing!

Kit Kat all snuggled up after her dental.

Kit Kat all snuggled up after her dental.

Bad Weather=Bad News for Pets

What do you do with your pets during a bad storm? 

If you can, it is ideal to take your pets with you. But what if you cannot? What do you do then?

If you decide to board your pet with us, please understand that we will do everything we can to keep your pet safe, however, if there is heavy wind/rain/flooding, we may not be able to come out to the office to care for the pets. We will have plenty of food and clean water available to them, but they may not be able to be walked, (and let’s face it, our pets hate walking in awful weather anyways).

I have attached a really good video on what to do to get you and your pet ready for disasters.

We offer microchipping and we have Emergency Window Stickers for your home. We also have ID cards for your wallet in case you are in an accident and cannot tell someone you have pets at home that need care.

It’s also best to have a copy of your pet’s vaccinations on hand in case you go to a facility that requires proof of vaccination. If you don’t have a pet ID, have current photos of you and your pet together and note any unique markings, scars, or tattoos. Carry their microchip number in a file.

Please contact us if you have any questions or need a copy of your vaccine history emailed to you.

~Elishia

5 Tips to Help your Dog LOVE the Vet!

The hardest thing to see is your furbaby scared.  You want to comfort him and make him know that it is going to be ok!  Wouldn't it be wonderful if your pet could understand what we are doing?  Maybe we can help a little.

Step 1:  Give our office a call and ask when it is a good, quiet time to bring your dog by for "Happy Visits."  These quick little trips are where the receptionists and staff come out and greet your pet in a non-threatening way and give him lots of treats and pettings.  

Come by once to twice a week for a couple of weeks.  

Step 2:  The Lobby - The lobby can be very scary with so many new smells, other dogs, cats, and people.  For a dog who is not used to going everywhere, it can be quite overwhelming!  Start by just going into the lobby, walking around, letting him sniff, and offer treats whenever he displays a calm demeanor.

Step 3:  Weight - The scale is one of the scariest things for pets, (and humans!), and we know that every time they come in, they have to get weighed...so why not make it an enjoyable experience?  Have your pet come in and take a seat or stand on the scale.  When they succeed, offer them a treat!  Good job!

Step 4:  Exam Rooms - Oh no!  Here is one of the scariest parts!  A small room with lots of scary sounds outside the doors and strange smells.  Not only that, but the technicians have to restrain your dog so that no one, including your dog, gets hurt.  

Let your dog visit the exam room with a technician.  Have them give your dog treats when they seem calm and are showing signs of relaxing.

Step 5:  ALWAYS LEAVE ON A GOOD NOTE!  It's so important that any time you come by that you leave when the dog is acting happy or relaxed.  It may take a few visits, but you will be surprised how much better your dog will act when it's time to come for an exam!

If your dog is completely afraid to even step in the door, maybe start slow in the parking lot by offering treats in your car, and moving forward from there.

Give us a call if you need some tips!  We will be happy to help.

~Elishia B.

Sit! Stay! How to Communicate with your Furry Friend.

Logan and Victoria

Logan and Victoria

When my toddler would come with me into stores or other people's homes, she occasionally made a scene.  She would yell, cry, or even touch things she shouldn't.  Instead of feeling embarrassed, I would stop what I was doing, pull her aside and communicate with her that she needed to take a "break" or "time out."  I never rewarded the bad behavior by giving in to her tantrum.

It is an embarrassing moment for any new mother, and as a new pet owner, your pet can be just like that toddler.  You know it is inappropriate behavior when a human does it, but we don't always recognize that it is inappropriate when our pets do it.

Here are four great tips to help you communicate what you want your pet to do without you, or the pet, getting frustrated.

Allie and "Green"

Allie and "Green"

  1. Consistency - It is so important to be consistent whenever teaching your pet anything.  Don't try to change up the routine at first.  Be diligent and keep to one phrase, one time of day, and make sure everyone in the household is doing the same thing.  It can be very confusing for your pet for each person in the household to do a different command and mean the same thing.  Make sure everyone is on board and have a plan.
     
  2. Timing is Everything! - Be certain that when you give your command, that you are doing it when the pet is performing it, not prior or shortly after.  We want your pet to "sit" when they are in the process of sitting, not standing or a few seconds after sitting.
     
  3. Types of Rewards - There are three main types of rewards a pet may like; try each to see which one they respond to best!
    1. Food - There are good treats out there, something small that can be eaten quickly is ideal.
    2. Toys - What is your pet's favorite toy?  A few seconds of play as a reward after the command can be a wonderful reward.
    3. Physical Contact - Maybe your pet is a picky eater or doesn't play with toys.  A good scratch under the chin or pet along the back may be just what your pet finds pleasing.
       
  4. Patience, Patience, Patience. - I know you're in a hurry, but teaching your pet a new language takes time and patience.  Don't give in because you are impatient!  That only teaches your pet that if they are persistent enough, they will train you to give them what they want.
"Elvis" and April J.

"Elvis" and April J.

There is nothing more satisfying than bringing your pet to a store, home, or veterinary office and they act like perfect angels!  You will be proud of them and they will be happy to have pleased you!

If you feel that you have tried "everything," seek professional help.  Don't give up!  Your friends at Davis Animal Hospital are rooting for you and so is your pet!

The Top 5 Tips for new Puppy and Kitten Parents

Congratulations on your new family addition to the Pensacola area!

If you are like most pet parents, the biggest question is, "what now?"

Yes, they're super cute and fun to play with, but what about their health?

We are here to guide you!

Here are our top 5 tips:

  1. Don't feed people food! Your pet will never need to experience something that can cause them harm, (such as cheese; see info here), thus they won't know what they're "missing out on."  Feed a high-quality puppy or kitten food such as Hill's Healthy Advantage, (a veterinary exclusive.)
     
  2. Keep them isolated!  This means, keep your pet in your home and your yard.  Equate it to taking a newborn infant to the mall.  These little guys aren't fully vaccinated yet and can catch deadly diseases such as parvovirus and panleukopenia.
     
  3. "Baby-proof" your house!  These little ones can find and chew on things that you would never know about!  Here is a good list of common household hazards as well as some other info on toxins.  Both cats and dogs have different needs to keep them safe in their new environment.  
     
  4. Housebreaking takes time!  Have patience...your little one is starting in a new environment and needs consistent training and praise to make housebreaking "click" with them.  Sometimes a local, reputable trainer is ideal for stubborn behaviors.
     
  5. Get your pet in to see us!  Veterinary care in Pensacola is essential to maintaining the health of your pet!  Dr. Michael Ruby & Dr. Ashley Virgilio can get them started on flea and parasite protection as well as good nutrition and vaccinations.  
Cara & "Rousey"

Cara & "Rousey"

We have a TON of good tips and advice here at Davis Animal Hospital!  Give us a call at 850-479-9484 or schedule an appointment with us today to get your new friend on the right track to a long and healthy life!

~Your Friends at Davis Animal Hospital