Monday, October 8, 2007

No Anesthesia teeth cleaning myth

I'm up way too late but I'm starting a new one. Every day I see pets in terrible agony and suffering with dental/oral problems more so than any other single injury or disease. THATS HUGE!!!!!The idea that some misguided individuals are promoting non-anesthetic cleanings and calling it friendly to pets is driving me nuts. This is the worst of the worst . It's so pet unfriendly it's not even funny! These folks are really hurting the pets they're trusted to help. It's a real crime in my book and there are vets in my neighborhood selling this snake oil. I'll take you directly to the expert here. A board certified veterinary dentist. He's Fraser Hale from ontario where he's run a dental specialty hospital for many years. He was kind enough to allow me to link to his site and quote from his wealth of knowledge and experience.
Here's the site;
When I told Dr. Hale about my blog he referred me to a newsletter from the governing body of veterinarians for the entire province of Ontario, Canada. page 18 of the attached newsletter from the College of Veterinarians of Ontario (our provincial licensing/disciplinary body). The fact that the CVO has now stated emphatically that offering unanesthetized veterinary dental care falls below the standard of practice for the entire province of Ontario .By the way, It is substandard right here in the US of A! From the site he talks about "Standing Dentals" i.e. without anesthesia and how it's absolutely impossible to serve our pets needs this way. I'll also follow this with a blog about anesthesia and how incredibly safe and important it is. Enjoy an exerpt from Dr. Hales website:
This myth likely grew from client concerns about the risks involved in general anesthesia. In order to offer some level of dental care at reduced risk, some veterinarians have offered the “Standing Dental”. Groomers and breeders have also been known to offer this service. When finished, the visible portions of the teeth look clean to the naked eye and the animal’s breath is often less offensive. This, coupled with a much lower fee and no anesthetic risk tends to satisfy the client. “Standing Dentals” leave plaque and calculus in places where the owners can not see it, so the owner is given a false sense of security that the mouth is healthy. “Standing Dentals” scratch the enamel surface but do not allow polishing so the tooth is left even more plaque retentive than before. “Standing Dentals” are unpleasant for the animals and so can make them head-shy which makes instituting an effective home-care program much more difficult. “Standing Dentals” often lead to damage to the gingiva as the animal wiggles about while there is a sharp instrument in the mouth. “Standing Dentals” do not allow for a thorough oral examination and so subtle problems are left undetected and untreated until they become serious and obvious problems which are usually much more difficult to treat. I recently saw a very sweet, 14 year old sheltie owned by a very dedicated and capable owner. This owner will do anything for her dog if she feels it will improve his health and well-being. Unfortunately, the advice she received over the years was that her dog needed only coronal scaling with sedation. This had been done many times throughout the dog’s life. By the time I saw the dog, he had such severe periodontal disease that I had to extract 24 teeth (2 canines and all his remaining posterior teeth). The good news is that, within two weeks, the owner reported that the dog was chasing squirrels like he had not done in years. If this dog had received appropriate dental treatment from an early age and had the owner been given proper instruction regarding home-care, the extractions and the years of suffering from dental infection would have been prevented. Since “Standing Dentals” do more harm than good, refuse to offer this service. A “Standing Dental” is bad for the patient (there are risks with no benefit), bad for the owner (who pays for worthless, potentially harmful treatment) and bad for the profession (as it under cuts those offering proper dental care and undermines our recommendations).

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