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Thursday, 13 June 2013

Dental Disease in cats and dogs

Dogs and Cats, like us, have 2 sets of teeth in their life time. Their deciduous teeth (milk teeth) erupt between 4-6 weeks of age and are replaced by their adult/permanent dentition between 4-6 months of age. Problems with teeth can be identified by discoloured teeth, red gums, bad breath, difficulty eating, dribbling and pain. Dental issues can act as a source of infection, which can cause disease elsewhere in the body e.g. kidney and heart infections.
Dental disease in pet dogs and cats is one of the most common problems we see at the practice. In some studies, up to 85% of dogs have been reported to have dental disease. There is no reason we should treat our pet’s teeth any differently to the way we do ours. This however is not always practical.
Tooth brushing is the ideal. No amount of brushing however will replace the need for specialist dental scaling and polishing to achieve optimal dental health.

When assessing a pet’s dental health, decisions have to be made as to the benefits of dental treatment. In the vast majority of healthy pets with dental disease the benefits to overall health, of dental scaling and polishing, outweigh any risks.
There are many benefits to removing the plaque and tartar (treating inflammation and infection) and extracting severely damaged teeth, including:
1.    Removal of pain for the individual
2.    Reduction of inflammation and bacteria in the mouth, reducing risks to other organs in the body  e.g. Kidneys, Heart and gastrointestinal tract.
3.    Greater ability to self groom – a very important factor for cats in particular
4.    Sweeter smelling breath!

Our nurses offer free dental advice and are more than happy to show you how to brush your pet’s teeth. They can talk to you about other ways of looking after your pet’s dentition if you find brushing difficult. Just call us for a free appointment.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Household Poisons! What can a­ffect your pet?

Did you know that a lot of things we use or have in our households are poisonous to our pets?
Some of the more common poisons are:
Acorns, if eaten, can cause kidney failure and depression. It is wise to check overhanging oak trees in gardens and be vigilant when out on dog walks in a park or woodland.
Antifreeze contains ethylene glycol well known for its sweet taste. This makes it appealing to pets to drink. It only takes a little to poison. It causes seizures and comas.
Bread Dough left standing to rise can be stolen by your dog! Your pet’s stomach is nice and warm making it an ideal environment for the dough to rise. This can lead to a gastric obstruction.
Chocolate! As you are probably aware contains an ingredient called theobromine which is poisonous to dogs. Extra care should be taken at Christmas and Easter when we tend to have lots of chocolate in the house. You can read more about tis in our Easter blog.
Cocoa can act as a laxative, but can also a­ffect the muscles ranging from muscle weakness
to necrosis of muscle tissue.

The Common Toad causes excess salivation & distress (if licked or picked up by dogs).
Grapes & Raisins if ingested can cause an upset tummy leading to kidney failure in dogs.
As we have mentioned in our previous blogs lilies are extremely toxic (to cats) and can very quickly cause fatal kidney problems if your cat doesn’t receive veterinary attention immediately.
Treat all mushrooms as potentially dangerous to all pets. Their symptoms range from abdominal pain to complete organ failure.
Onions & Garlic  are highly poisonous to cats and dogs, taking only a small amount to cause serious problems.
Slug Bait contains metaldehyde which aff­ects the nervous system leading to seizures.
Xylitol found in some sweeteners, that we use for our tea, is toxic to our furry friends.
And this time of year we are possibly using weed killer. Its symptoms vary and are dependent on the active ingredient.
The list of poisons to our pets is too many to list. The above are the common ones but there are many more.
Household plants, some garden plants and certain weeds are poisonous. Try to be aware of the plants and weeds that you have, just in case one of your pets does decide to have a nibble on them. Most ingested poisons if left untreated can be fatal, so always consider carefully what you have in the home or garden.

The symptoms for each poison vary. Do not leave anything to chance. If you suspect your pet has eaten something and you have the packaging, take this to the Veterinary Surgery. This assists us when contacting the Veterinary Poisons Unit.