Dental care is one of those elements of the overall health of a dog that is so critical, yet is so often overlooked. The majority of the time the reason for this is cost. And sometimes people don’t even realize their dog has bad teeth until those teeth are in a very bad state of affairs.
While none of these 4 dogs were surrendered because of their dental concerns, it was something that became alerted to us almost instantly when they came into our care.
In early August, a local rescue contacted us about the surrender of 4 senior Chihuahuas. The original owner had passed away, and her daughter was faced with the difficult decision of sending them to rescue as she had her limit of dogs as well.
It was a heart breaking situation, but we were honoured that she entrusted these pups care to us.
We met her and these 4 special little guys and gals at the Oxford Veterinary Hospital on August 22, 2015. The plan was to get them checked out, current on their shots, and into foster care. Little did we know, nor did the owner’s daughter know, that these dogs all had varying degrees of periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease is essentially severe tartar, gingivitis, and a separation of the gums from the teeth. It takes on different stages, and of course these seniors were at the worst stage.
In addition to this, one pup had a mild hernia, one had a severe hernia, and 3 of the 4 had varying degrees of luxating patella.
We administered antibiotics and pain meds to help bring down some of the infection they faced prior to sending for surgery.
A couple days after they were surrendered, the daughter of their owner contacted us to let us know one of her friends wanted to take Tia, the 10 year old Chihuahua and ensure she got the care she needed. We couldn’t refuse, so Tia will be going for surgery on her teeth and severe hernia in mid-September as part of her adoption to this lovely family.
On Wednesday, August 26, Rollie (8 years old) was the first of the remaining 3 to go for dental surgery. He pulled through like a champ! With 6 teeth extractions and freshly cleaned teeth, he went home feeling pretty good. He was made available for adoption September 1 and we are excited to get started on applications for him.
On Thursday, August 27, Bella (8 years old) was the second to go for her dental surgery. She also had to have a mild hernia repaired. She had 6 teeth extractions, as well, in addition to a good cleaning. She went home feeling pretty groggy with a fairly tender belly. She is not yet available for adoption as she requires a little more healing and confidence building.
On Saturday, August 29, Rico (9 years old) went for his dental. He had previously gone for dental with his original owner and had a number of teeth removed that resulted in his tongue already sticking out of his mouth. He had a few more teeth extracted this time around too, with his cleaning. He is feeling better, and slowly day-by-day gaining confidence. He should be available for adoption very soon too.
We have to send a HUGE thank you to Oxford Veterinary Hospital! We were originally going to be forced to delay the dental work until we could fundraise enough to cover, but Dr. Tamer felt so bad about these poor pups and the obvious pain they were in. We are working on paying off the nearly $2500 bill with their office. We will be hosting some fundraisers over the next bit, and at the end of this post is our link to donate directly to the Denture Dogs Fund.
Each dog is currently enjoying their time with their Foster Family. We want to thank Elizabeth, Sherri, and Phyllis for taking these sweet pups into their care!
We’d also like to send a big thank you to Audrey & Courtney, and Christine & Daniel for taking care of Tia until she can meet her new adoptive family in the coming weeks.
This gal, like the Seniors, has captured our hearts. Brandy-Ann was surrendered to us when her owner had a deadline to find a new place to live, and couldn’t find one in her budget that would allow for dogs. This woman clearly loved Brandy-Ann, and interviewed us almost as much as we did her!
She described Brandy as a very anxious pup that had been through a lot with her over the years. Brandy is a 5 year old maltese Chihuahua mix. In our intake process, we ask a variety of questions to get a sense as to what kind of care each dog will need…are there medical concerns, behavioural problems, etc. When we asked about her teeth, the owner did indicate that she had some bad teeth. We asked for pictures of these so we could get an idea as to what we were going to face.
This lady clearly did everything she could to give Brandy a loving life. Being a little dog, her teeth are prone to being bad. Whatever the cause, Brandy’s teeth were bad. We knew we were facing an extensive procedure for her and so, on August 22 when we met this sweet girl, we introduced her to Dr. Cecilia and the team at Albany Veterinary Clinic.
Poor Brandy had some of the worst teeth they have ever seen. We knew we had to book her in for immediate surgery. First, like the Seniors, we had to get her on antibiotics and pain meds. She was on these for a few days, then on Thursday, August 27, she went in for a big dental procedure.
For 68 minutes, Dr. Cecilia worked on just extracting her bad teeth. There were between 16-21 teeth extracted, plus tartar scraped off as thick as teeth. Her remaining 6-8 teeth were cleaned and shined up to look as good as new! They did, as always, a fantastic job with this little dog.
Brandy was spunkier and peppier that evening after all that work. She was a little nervous to try food that night, but as quick as she did without pain – well, food became her favorite thing next to her Foster Pawrents.
She is now a happy go lucky little dog who will be made available for adoption once her vaccinations are done and she has had her final post-surgical checkup.
Her vet bill was nearly $1200. Almost half that of 3 dogs dental bills.
Dental Care and Its Importance
Dental care plays an important part in every single aspect of the health of your dog and even their temperament. Think about it…when you have a sore tooth, are you in the best of moods? Are you willing to get out and play/work/etc? No.
Abscesses, infections, periodontal disease…they can all become much bigger problems. They can cause blood disorders, severe weight loss (lack of eating), dehydration (painful water consumption), and far more.
It is important to consult with your veterinarian about dental care for your dog. Ensure that they are not just being fed wet or raw food. Give them healthy chews (bully sticks, kongs, cow knuckles, elk antlers, chew toys, games of tug-o-war, etc) to work their teeth. Give them good quality kibble. Brush their teeth, and if they won’t let you do that talk to your vet about an oral gel you can apply to their gums to at least work the tartar.
Get your pup in for regular exams and regular cleanings. Talk to your veterinarian about when Dental Month is if cost is a concern for you.
Your dog will thank you for it. We thank you for it.
Help The Denture Dogs
The vet bills for these 4 are extensive. We are working hard on coming up with some fundraiser events! These will be posted on our website and social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram). But here’s a link to donate directly to the Denture Dogs. We greatly appreciate any and all support you can offer!
Please share their story and help us keep oral health at the forefront of pet ownership!