Pippa is a 9 year old Miniature Schnauzer and is a new patient at Fitzroy Vet Clinic. Her owners brought her into the clinic to see Dr Simmone Major for her annual check up. Pippa's owner was very happy with her health but after some discussion with Dr Simmone they commented that she had been a little slower to finish her meals lately and her breathe was a bit smelly and they thought these changes were due to her age.
After a thorough examination Dr Simmone explained to Pippa's owner that she was suffering from Dental disease, which is a very painful condition and without undergoing a dental procedure, Pippa's teeth would continue to be a source of pain for the rest of her life.
Simmone explained that the tartar hidden below the gum line which we can't see is the main cause of Pippas problem. It contains bacteria which attacks the surrounding gum tissue causing painful inflammation ('gingivitis') and the infection can track down to the tooth roots. Pus may build up in the roots and form a painful abscess, inflammation wears away tissue from the gum bones and teeth (gum recession) and as the disease becomes more advanced, the teeth will loosen and fall out. Bacteria and the poisons they produce can also get into the blood stream and cause damage throughout the body in organs such as the kidneys, heart and liver.
If you personally have ever suffered gingivitis or any form of dental disease you can relate to the pain Pippa is experiencing. Dogs generally are very stoic and do not show the typical signs of pain that we as humans would expect to see. In fact the signs may be very subtle as in the wild showing pain is considered a sign of weakness and leaves a dog venerable to attack.
Pippas owner was shocked to see and hear about Pippa's teeth and booked her in for a dental procedure the following day. Once Pippa was under general anaesthesia we were able to see the extent of the dental disease and the severity of this little dogs pain. As Simmone suspected Pippa had severe gum recession on several of her teeth, this left the roots of the teeth exposed to infection and disease. These teeth needed to be removed. In total we extracted five of Pippa's teeth and in doing so the pain associated with this condition will be gone.
Pippa came back a few days later for a check up and her owner reports that she has a new lease on life. She is much more active and loves her food again. Her owners commented to us " We wish we had this procedure done years ago to prevent the suffering she went through in silence".
Pippa's owner is following a simple dental homecare plan to prevent any future dental disease and Pippa loves all the extra cuddles she is getting now that she no longer has smelly breathe