We’ve been nominated for a 2016 Petplan Veterinary Award!

by admin in Blog

We were so happy to receive news that one of our clients has nominated Dr. Lommer for the Veterinarian of the Year award. The Petplan Veterinary Awards, now in their fifth year, seek to recognize outstanding pet health heroes from across North America.We are grateful and humbled to receive recognition for the care we provided to Zoe the cat, and we thank Zoe’s mom, Anne, for her kindness in nominating Dr. Lommer.

We’ve been nominated for a 2016 Petplan Veterinary AwardA nomination is more than a purr of thanks for a job well done — it’s also an effortless way to help pets in need! For every nomination they receive, Petplan donates $1 to one of three animal charities: Adopt-A-Pet.com, GreaterGood.org or Morris Animal Foundation.

All of us at Aggie Animal Dental Center hope that our animal-loving friends will “paw it forward” by submitting additional nominations on our behalf. Nominations are being accepted for Practice of the Year, Veterinarian of the Year, Veterinary Technician of the Year, Practice Manager of the Year, Receptionist of the Year and Pet Parent of the Year. Petplan is allowing one nomination per category per person – six chances to thank pet health heroes and help pets. To nominate your own pet’s veterinary hero, visit http://www.gopetplan.com/vet-awards !

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A magic spray??

by admin in Blog

We recently received an e-mail from a long-time client asking about a product she saw advertised on Facebook. The product is one of many being touted as a miracle for pet dental health. “No brushing required!” “No more dog breath!” “Remove plaque and tartar!” Unfortunately, all of these “benefits” come with a huge risk: most of these sprays contain alcohol. Ethyl alcohol, grain alcohol, ethanol: by any of these names, “all natural” alcohol is still toxic to pets.

Although alcohol is effective at killing bacteria (Listerine is 26% alcohol), it can cause more harm than good. Here’s why:

Alcohol is rapidly absorbed through the oral mucosa into the bloodstream, where it then enters the brain and depresses the central nervous system. This could cause respiratory depression and (at high doses) death.
Alcohol is metabolized in the liver and, even in small amounts, could cause liver disease in dogs and cats.
Alcohol is a carcinogen, and in humans has been found to be a cause of malignant tumors of the oral cavity, throat, esophagus, liver, colon/rectum, and breast (There is an excellent review of this in the article “Safety evaluation of topical applications of ethanol on the skin and inside the oral cavity”, by DW Lachenmeier, in the Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology, 2008).

The other problem with these products is that they give pet parents a false sense of security. Similar to anesthesia-free dental cleaning, even if the teeth look cleaner and the breath smells better, there could still be significant gum disease and bone destruction around the teeth. The only way to diagnose and treat dental disease is with dental radiographs (x-rays) and a comprehensive oral health evaluation under general anesthesia.

Reviewers of these products online often state “My vet said my dog couldn’t be anesthetized because he’s too old” or “…has a heart condition” or some other reason. There are very few pets that cannot be safely anesthetized. In our practice, we regularly anesthetize geriatric patients, and those with multiple medical conditions including heart disease, kidney disease, seizure disorders, liver shunts, diabetes, Cushing’s disease…. Yes, we have a board-certified anesthesiologist, and we are extremely fortunate. However, with appropriate drug selection, anesthetic monitoring equipment, and constant presence of veterinary technicians during and after the procedure, most of these “high risk” patients could be safely anesthetized in any modern, well-equipped and properly staffed veterinary hospital. Dental disease significantly impacts quality of life, and treating this disease should not be considered “elective” any more than giving insulin to a cat with diabetes or surgically removing a tumor on a dog’s spleen. These products capitalize on pet owners’ fear of anesthesia. Fear should not result in neglect to treat an animal’s oral disease.

When looking for products to help with reducing plaque and tartar, look for the “VOHC Accepted” seal. This indicates that the product meets or exceeds a minimum standard of effectiveness.

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The Importance of Dental X-Rays

by admin in Blog

Dental Radiography is the art of taking x-ray images of the teeth. These images (such as the normal x-rays from a cat that are pictured below) are absolutely vital to diagnose and treat various forms of dental disease in our pets. They are how we evaluate the teeth, their roots, and the bones of the jaw, and how they have healed after a procedure. This is what allows us to determine what treatment is necessary.

Did you know that about 70% of a cat or dog’s tooth is under the gumline? Dental x-rays allow us to look at this part of the tooth, allowing us to accurately and successfully treat your pet’s dental disease. We know from looking at the available research that we will find important information that we would have missed otherwise on about a third of the dental x-rays we take! In addition, these images help us to determine the best way to keep your pet’s mouth healthy. In two-thirds of the x-rays we review, we find disease that is actually worse than what we can detect with our eyes, hands and probes. Even when a tooth looks completely healthy, there can be problems brewing under the gumline, and in the bone!

Dental x-rays are taken by placing a sensor, or film, in the mouth of the dog or cat. We place the film in specific locations to take the image of different teeth. The x-ray machine must be carefully lined up so that an accurate image of the tooth is obtained. We see so many different sizes and breeds of patients that each patient needs unique placement of the film and x-ray machine. These images then provide us with clear details of the roots of the teeth without other overlapping structures confusing the diagnosis.

At Aggie Animal Dental Center we use digital x-ray sensors instead of traditional x-ray film. Digital radiography has several advantages, including requiring less radiation to make an image, and producing an image that can be enlarged and manipulated to better diagnose disease. Digital images can also be stored long-term, shared easily, and can be looked at immediately, instead of waiting for several minutes while the film is developed.

In order to obtain these x-ray images, our patients must be under general anesthesia. There are several reasons for this, includingthat they won’t sit still while we very carefully position our digital sensors and x-ray machine to obtain the perfect image. Also, having the sensor in the mouth can be uncomfortable, which may make it almost impossible to obtain an image while our patients are awake.

Dental radiography is a vital part of every patient’s oral examination, and is recommended for every patient being anesthetized for dental evaluation. It is part of the American Animal Hospital Association and American Veterinary Medical Association guidelines to practicing veterinary dentistry. You can be sure that Dr. Lommer or Dr. Fulton will show you your pet’s individual dental x-rays after their procedure, and try to help you understand what we are seeing. We love being able to show you what we find and how we can best care for your pets!

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