Skiing + dental health for pets
Hope everyone is ready to start the work week off right!
I’m not gonna lie, I failed to get my long run in this weekend. We were slammed at work and I barely made it home by 8pm. I didn’t sleep well because I worry too much about all the things that could go wrong to my patients after I leave them. Even though I know they are in good hands with the emergency doctor, there’s just less comfort when it’s not you personally watching them. I hope to never lose this much care for the patients I see, but I would love to sleep. Surely there is a happy medium somewhere between.
Hubbs and I met a bunch of friends in the mountains this morning and tail gated at the “beach.” (that’s what they call the main parking lot at A Basin).
I had the breakfast of champions. I honestly don’t drink much milk at all, but it is one of my favorite recovery drinks after long runs.
The ski lift lines were way too long, but we got some good quality runs in then stopped for some burgers on the grill. For some reason 30 degrees doesn’t seem that bad when you’re surrounded by snowy mountains. We caught up with friends then headed home for the day.
My agenda for this week is to get back on track with my workouts. Last week I missed Friday Saturday and Sunday (unless you count skiing). Tomorrow I’m gonna get my 8 mile run in, Tuesday barre class with some cardio after, Wednesday spin class, Thursday run, and that’s as far as I’ve planned. We’ll see how it goes.
My clinic has been doing dental month to promote getting pets teeth cleaned, so I thought I would touch on that subject today.
I guess the biggest hurdle I come across when talking to people about their pets dental health is why does my pet need to have clean teeth? Who cares right?
First is the obvious- the smell! That smell comes from bacteria and food particles that have built up over time. This leads to gingivitis and infections just like in people.
Second- their heart takes the biggest hit when the teeth aren’t properly cleaned. Every time your pet chews on a bone or food, they shed some of that tartar and it goes straight into the blood stream. This can lead to a heart condition called endocarditis that can be life threatening.
Third- its painful for your pet. All that buildup leads to gingivitis, rotten roots, and abscesses. Some dogs show this by dropping food when they eat, or they may not be willing to eat hard food at all.
How do we perform a dental on your pet? The standard of care is pre op bloodwork to make sure the Patient is healthy, then an IV catheter is placed for fluids and medications to be given throughout the procedure, and finally the patient is given a very heavy sedation so they can be intubated and placed under general anesthesia. I would say this is the second most common hang up people have with dentals. Some places advertise anesthesia free dentals, but if you understand the procedure you’ll understand why this is not advisable. We place pets under general anesthesia because we want to protect their airway. An ultrasonic scaler is used, just like human dentists, and all that water and the tartar being knocked off those teeth would go straight down the throat if the airway was not protected. It also allows for the most thorough cleaning. We take x-rays when necessary, probe each tooth for pockets, and pull teeth only when necessary. We polish the teeth, then wake the patient up. A routine dental (no extractions) takes less than 1 hour from start to finish. Your pet goes home the same day and usually is fully recovered within 24 hours.
Length of time between dentals is dependent on the dog. Just as in people, genetics plays a big role. Smaller dogs like chihuahuas, yorkies, and poodles typically have more buildup than bigger dogs and therefore require a preventive dental about once every year. Some dogs can go 2-3 years before they need a dental again.
Preventive medicine is as important in our pets as it is ourselves. If we keep up with our pets dental health there will be less long term effects that are more complicated or untreatable.