February is Pet Dental Awareness Month

Just as humans need to brush their teeth and get regular dental cleanings, so does your pet! While cavities are rare, tartar buildup is so common that about 80% of dogs and 70% of cats over three years* old suffer from some form of periodontal disease. 

Typically there won’t be any signs of Periodontal disease, which is why we recommend having your pet’s teeth checked regularly by a veterinarian once they are over the age of three years old. 

Advanced symptoms of periodontal disease in pets include:

  • Yellow or brown coloured teeth
  • Bad breath
  • Inflamed, swollen or bleeding gums
  • Excessive drooling
  • Ropey or bloody saliva
  • Irritability
  • Reduced appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Chewing on one side of the mouth 
  • Loose or missing teeth

While the most obvious symptom is stinky breath, periodontal disease can have much more serious effects including:

  • Chronic pain
  • Gum erosion
  • Loss of bone and teeth
  • Heart, liver or kidney disease

Why does this happen?

Plaque is bacteria which builds and calcifies under the gumline. Their body’s immune system responds with inflammation to kill the bacteria, which erodes the gum tissue (gingivitis). If enough bacteria builds up, it can enter the bloodstream and affect other organs, such as the heart, liver, or kidneys.** 

How can you prevent it:

  • Brush often (ideally every second day but at least once per week)
  • Use veterinarian-approved toothpaste (definitely not human toothpaste!)
  • Dental chews
  • Water additives
  • Dental diet foods (ask your veterinarian for recommended brands)
  • Regular scheduled dental cleaning with your veterinarian 

What happens during a dental cleaning?

Your pet has to go under general anesthetic for dental cleanings. The main problem is the bacteria and plaque sitting under the gum, which cleanings cannot get to when the pet is awake. See the FAQ infographic from Pet Desk below:

*Source: AVMA

**Source: WSAVA

Heartworm Prevention Plan

Heartworm Prevention Plan

We want nothing but the best for our furry companions, and this means we also have to have conversations about the less fun and fluffy aspects of pet ownership. So, here we go, let’s talk about heartworm disease. 

Spread by mosquitoes, heartworm is an internal parasite that poses a threat to our pets if left untreated. Even indoor pets are at risk as mosquitoes can easily find their way inside. But the good news is, internal parasites are almost 100% preventable. Prevention isn’t a one-time deal, it requires regular attention and commitment, so it is crucial for all pets, regardless of their lifestyle, to be tested and protected. 

A visit to your veterinarian will help you understand the best prevention methods and we can create a plan for your pet’s unique needs. Heartworm can be difficult and costly to treat once contracted, but by working with us on a prevention plan, you can most likely avoid this. Think of prevention like carrying an umbrella on a gloomy day—you might not need it, but if the rain starts pouring, you’ll be glad to be prepared. 

At our practice, we offer a variety of products that protect your pet from internal parasites like heartworm, hookworm, whipworm, and roundworm, as well as external parasites such as fleas and ticks. We are happy to discuss different options with you during your next visit. 

If you don’t have a prevention plan in place, now is the time to establish one:

Flea & Tick Prevention in BC

Did you know…

fleas and ticks can survive in Canada year round? Protect your pet by using preventative medication and regularly checking for fleas and ticks throughout the year. Pests that have found their way inside can survive and breed if left alone. If you don’t have an active prescription for preventative flea and tick medication, now is the time to schedule an appointment to protect your pet. 

Not only are fleas and ticks maddening with all the itching, they can also create problems in our pets. Some pets are allergic to their bites and end up with skin issues— fleas are also known for transmitting tapeworms. We can help! We carry a variety of flea/tick prevention products to suit your pet’s lifestyle and needs. These are prescriptions that we discuss during your pet’s annual wellness check up. 

If you notice symptoms such as excessive scratching or biting, red and irritated skin, or hair loss please let us know immediately and request an appointment.

It’s important to note…

While fleas and ticks are most common in temperatures above 4 degrees celsius, they can be found in BC year round. Make sure to regularly check your pets for fleas and ticks as they can fall off pets and latch to humans. 

For more information on  parasite prevention, check out more information on fleas and ticks here