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Anesthesia Free Dog Teeth Cleaning

Anesthesia Free Dog Teeth CleaningGood dental hygiene is just as important for dogs as it is for humans. In fact good dental hygiene can help your dog live longer because tooth decay not only creates dental problems, but it can also cause infections throughout your dog’s body.

Dental disease can be put into three categories: tartar, gingivitis and bone loss. Tartar is the accumulation of plaque on the teeth, usually starting at the gum line. Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums. You can easily see this by the increase in the pinkness of your dog’s gums, especially at the gum line. Tartar and gingivitis are frequently found together, but not in the early stages where there is just tartar. Bone loss is the most serious of the three conditions. In these cases there is bacterial infection usually between teeth and gums. This infection can spread to other organs including the heart, liver or kidney.

Anesthesia Free Dog Teeth Cleaning All of these stages require treatment, whether it be antibiotics, scaling/cleaning of the teeth or a full dental cleaning procedure done under general anesthesia. Since genetics plays the biggest role in the development of dental disease the only things we can do to decrease the incidence is to brush the teeth on a regular basis and see a vet regularly to determine if medical intervention is needed.

Luckily, there is an option for anesthesia free dog teeth cleaning. It’s a safe, humane, and cost-effective way to clean your dog’s teeth. It offers benefits in both preventative and supplemental oral health care, and also provides a much-needed option for pets who cannot safely be anesthetized. Anesthesia free dog teeth cleaning costs about $300 in comparison to dog dental cleaning done under general anesthesia which costs on average $700-$1500.

Pre-screening for Anesthesia Free Dog Teeth Cleaning

tooth examA thorough oral exam is done prior to each cleaning to assess for any medical conditions and to determine if this type of cleaning is appropriate for your dog. The exam will also determine if your dog has the right temperment for the procedure.

According to Dr.Quagliata, DVM, CVA, most good candidates are typically dogs that are younger up to middle age and do not have severe gingivitis or other major issues, such as broken teeth. For dogs with light calculus build-up and healthy gums, anesthesia free dog teeth cleaning is a great way to keep the teeth clean and help maintain good oral health without the costs and risks associated with anesthesia.

For animals with an existing dental health condition, such as advanced gum disease, non-anesthetic cleaning can supplement routine dental procedures done under anesthesia, which can help slow the progression of disease.

What Happens During Anesthesia Free Dog Teeth Cleaning?

Dog-Teeth-Cleaning-without-anesthesiaAfter the pre-screening approval, your dog will see the dental hygienist and vet. First they make sure your dog is relaxed and comfortable. Often your dog will be on a soft bed with blankets, not a cold exam table. They’ll make sure the dog gets a chance to sniff the tools and other things of interest.

The anesthesia free dog teeth cleaning procedure involves manual scaling (both above and below gum line) of facial and lingual surfaces of the teeth, as well as manual polishing. The procedure takes about 30 minutes.

If you live in the NYC area and are interested in anesthesia free dog teeth cleaning, please reach out to Dr.Quagliata, DVM, CVA at drq@villagehousecallvet.com or www.villagehousecallvet.com to schedule an appointment or consultation.

Pet Insurance – we definitely recommend it

pet-insurancePet Insurance – do you get it or not? We contemplated this for quite a while. But then we came across quite a few dogs that needed to have surgery (variety of reasons) and it made me think we should really pull the trigger. At a minimum, we figured we could get a policy that covered emergencies.

Looking for pet insurance does take some time. In the end, we went with Trupanion. It was recommended by our vet and it seemed to be the best value for us. We’ve had it for a few years now and I can say we’re pretty happy with it. However, I think it’s important for you to look at the various plans and see what works for you and your dog.

We looked at these pet insurance companies (click on name to view their webpage):

AKC
ASPCA
Healthy Paws
Pet Plan
Pethealth /Pet Care/ 24PetWatch
Pets Best
VPI
Trupanion 

You will notice that many of the pet insurance companies have plan comparisons and generally their own plan “wins” the comparison. It’s actually possible for this to happen because there are so many plan variables. What is best for my dog might not be best for your dog. For example, if you have a Bulldog, they generally have more health issues and a shorter lifespan than a Coton de Tular. So a Bulldog owner might want more coverage, but care less about cost increases based on age.

Here are the various factors we reviewed:

Annual Deductible
Deductible per incident
Per Incident Limit
Annual Limit
Lifetime Limit
Premium increase due to age
Increase due to filing claims
Coverage
Reimbursement
Accident
Illness
Hereditary conditions
Hospitalization
Surgeries
Cancer treatment
Diagnostic testing
Prescription Medications
Pre-existing conditions
Veterinarian exam fee
Wellness/routine care
Reviews/Customer Comments

We have a Havanese, which is a relatively healthy dog with a long life span. So it was important not to have “premium increase due to age”. We also live in NYC, so we also wanted “reimbursement” to be based on what the vet charges than based on an average national cost. There were a number of other factors (e.g. premium flexibility) that led us to select Trupanion.

Want to learn more? Check out our post on Dog First Aid – Helpful Items to Keep at Home!

Annual Vet Exam – Starting off the Year on the Right Paw

Time for that Annual Vet Exam?

vet examA vet exam is probably not one of your dog’s favorite activities, but the beginning of the year is a great time to make sure you’ve got all of your ducks in a row for the new year, which includes all those doctor (your you) and vet (your dog) check ups. It’s a good thing to do as it ensures your dog is healthy and you can likely catch any health issues earlier, especially as they age more quickly than humans.

When you book the appointment with your veterinarian, ask whether you need to fast your dog before the visit, as well, as if you need to bring in fresh urine or fecal samples from your dog.

Check list of items to bring to the Vet Exam

  • Your dog’s leash and collar
  • Your dog bag or kennel if required or if it makes your pet more comfortable
  • Your dog’s muzzle if needed (i.e. they bite)
  • A recent stool sample (vet needs to test it for parasites)
  • Your dog’s favorite treats – my dog won’t eat the treats at the vet so it’s better to bring the ones you know your dog loves
  • Your pet insurance info (note that most pet insurances don’t pay for wellness visits, but insurance might cover other tests/treatments your dog needs
  • Your dog’s health history (especially if you are switching vets)
  • A list of questions you might have. Do NOT be shy to ask anything about your dog.

vet exam earWhen you’re at the vet exam, the vet will ask you a set of routine questions about your dog’s lifestyle. You might want to think about these in advance or write them down. The vet is likely to ask about your dog’s exercise, diet (make sure to know the brand(s) of dog food), thirst, behavior, habits, bowel movements, urination, parasite prevention (e.g. Frontline, Heartgard) and general health.

At the Annual Vet Exam

As mentioned before, at the vet exam, the vet or vet technician will ask you a set of routine questions about your dog. If you live in an area where Lyme disease is prevalent or you take your dog in areas where they might be at risk for Lyme disease, definitely tell your vet so they can check your dog for any possible symptoms.

vet exam heartNext the vet or the vet technician will weigh your dog. If your dog is really squirmy on the scale, you should probably know approximately how much your dog weighs before you go to the vet just in case there is a major discrepancy. This has happened with Kobi before and we often need to weigh him a couple times on one scale or on two scales to make sure we got the right weight reading.

The vet will do a physical evaluation of the dog. This will including examining your dog’s eyes, ears, nose, teeth, mouth, haircoat, skin, heart, lungs, pulse, lymph nodes, legs, toenails, abdomen and general body condition.

The vet should also do a wellness blood screen during the annual vet exam.

Your dog’s vaccines should also be updated at this time. Typical vaccines would be:

  • Bordatella/Para-Influenza (aka Kennel Cough) – Many doggie daycares require this vaccine once every 6 months.
  • Leptospira
  • Distemper/Parvo
  • Rabies at least once every three years. Every state in the U.S. has a 3-year rabies law, however, depending on what city or municipality you live in, the laws may be more restrictive, requiring every-year or every two-year rabies vaccines.

After the Vet Exam

A lot of dogs hate to go to the vet, so it might be helpful to plan some extra play time or a long walk after the vet exam.
If your dog is really nervous or stressed out when it goes to the vet, some vets encourage bringing your dog to the vet just to visit (not for an appointment) and perhaps get a treat, so your dog becomes more accustomed to visiting the vet and does not always have poking, needles and other uncomfortable procedures associated with the vet office. This might reduce your dog’s stress when it needs to go to the vet for an actual appointment.

Kennel Cough – What Is It & What To Do About It?

by Dr. Kristin Lester, DVM, Seaport Animal Hospital

Dr-Kristin-Lester

Dr. Kristin Lester

There you are, lying in bed, dreaming of taking your dog Lucky to the dog park the next day when through the darkness you hear the first muffled sounds of your beloved one starting to cough… Is this merely a nightmare? Or could it be… the dreaded Kennel Cough?!? You’ve heard about this disease, but wonder what it is, how it is transmitted, and what to do about it.

kennel coughInfectious tracheobronchitis, also known as “kennel cough,” is caused by a collection of highly contagious respiratory pathogens. In fact, multiple infectious organisms may be involved in a single case, including Bordetella bronchiseptica, parainfluenza virus, adenovirus type 2, canine distemper virus, canine influenza virus, canine herpesvirus, mycoplasma canis, and canine reovirus. Rarely, kennel cough can be spread to humans; however there have only been a handful of cases and it is typically only a risk with severely immunocompromised people. Canine influenza, which is uncommon, typically causes much more severe disease with fever and pneumonia, but often times starts out looking like classic kennel cough.

Kennel CoughKennel cough can occur year-round and the incubation period, time it takes from exposure to onset of symptoms, is 2 to 14 days. Dogs typically only show clinical signs for 1-2 weeks, but infected animals can continue to shed the organism via respiratory secretions for up to 3 months. Young, stressed or debilitated animals are more susceptible than adult pets. Furthermore, compromised respiratory health secondary to heavy dust, cigarette smoke, cold temperature and/or poor ventilation can also make pets more prone to infection. Infection is spread via animal-to-animal contact, aerosolized respiratory secretions or inanimate objects that get “blessed” by an infected animal. [Read more…]