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Dog's Teeth

June 18th, 2009, 10:48 AM
My 7 year-old Sheltie has very bad teeth. My Vet has said the only way to deal with this is to have him put under and professionally cleaned. Based on his age, I'm not prepared to put him through that. Any other suggestions would be most appreciated (I have attempted brushing them myself...that was fun!)

June 18th, 2009, 11:01 AM
Your dog actually isn't that old, and as long as he gets a thorough exam and pre-anesthetic blood work done beforehand, there's no reason not to get the dental done. Bad teeth are extremely painful and it would be kinder to put your dog to sleep than make him suffer with dental pain.

June 18th, 2009, 11:11 AM
I agree with Sugarcatmom. Seven years old is not at all too old for this, and if your vet is recommending a cleaning, I would go for it. Brushing now probably will not undo damage that has already occurred in his mouth, and after a good professional cleaning I would brush regularly and offer him raw bones to keep his teeth and gums healthy. If his mouth is in bad shape now, it is likely to only get worst without treatment and would eventually necessitate dental surgery (possibly extractions) in the future as an older dog. I would get it done now.

If you are worried about the anaesthetic, make sure that all the bloodwork is done beforehand as previously suggested, which should be done anyway IMO.
Good luck.

June 18th, 2009, 02:08 PM
At 7 your boy isn't old at all. But he is getting to the age that you will want to have pre-surgical bloodwork done. Last summer, my then 13-year-old Scottie had a dental procedure. He developed an abscess on a lower back molar. The vet pulled 4 teeth during the procedure, did a deep clean and removed a wart on my boy's head (nothing suspicious--he just bumped it constantly and it would swell and bleed). Due to his age, the vet did his procedure very early in the day so he could monitor him and how he came out of anesthesia. I was able to pick him up at closing. I had discharge orders and pain medication. He slept several hours in his crate that evening and then was very groggy from the sedation. He acted tired the next day, but the day after he acted like nothing had even happened.

Bad teeth are a concern. My vet is not one to put dogs under anesthesia just to clean each year. He does teach how to maintain the teeth at home and how to watch for problems. I knew we had a problem when my guy cleaned his beard after his meal and yelped. When I checked his mouth there was a very tiny white spot at the gumline--the abscess. His breath wasn't bad. I do think the cleaning last year has helped him. I was very worried having him put under, but doing this improved his quality of life, allowed us to get the infection gone and ease pain. Bacteria from infected teeth can enter the blood stream and damage major organs such as the heart, kidneys and liver. Discuss the benefits versus the risks with your vet. I did want you to know that much older dogs have this procedure and do well. I told my vet to remove any questionable teeth while he was under. There are anesthetics that are safer for senior dogs.

June 18th, 2009, 02:15 PM
I agree..I had my Tarzan's (RIP) teeth done when he was 13 years of age. I am sure that was partially why he lasted till 16 years of age.

Bad teeth can cause a lot more trouble than you think, from infections to cancer... Please reconsider, especially if your vet is confident and does all pre-operation tests to make sure.

There's always some percentage of risk of course, but if the dog is otherwise healthy - he is not too old at all to have this done. Its amazing what it can do for him.