At Larkmead Vets we believe good dental hygiene is an essential part of caring for our pets. This includes keeping gums as well as teeth healthy.
Sadly, almost 80% of domestic pets have some type of dental disease by the time they reach 3 years of age. Without proper care this can also lead to serious illness later in life. Many owners are not aware of dental issues until their animals are in obvious pain. Unfortunately, this is often too late and tooth loss or chronic discomfort may be inevitable.
Our aim is to help clients to understand their pets’ dental care requirements and spot early signs of problems. Regular home care, as well as 6 – 12-month vet dental checks should form part of your pet’s ongoing preventative healthcare routine. Our nurses also hold specific dental clinics for additional help and advice on caring for your pet’s teeth
When a dental problem is identified it is important to treat it quickly and effectively. Unfortunately, most pets will not show obvious signs of discomfort with dental disease, and it is not until the problem is dealt with that an owner realises how much happier they are after treatment.
Nearly all dental work in animals is performed under a general anaesthetic. This includes ‘routine’ treatment such as scaling and polishing. It is not possible to do thorough, pain free, safe examination and treatment in a conscious patient. The anaesthetic permits our vets to examine every part of your pet’s mouth and identify hidden problems that cannot be identified in even the most compliant conscious pet.
During the procedure, the vet will assess tooth and gum health, and take radiographs where necessary (always in cats). Tartar deposits will be removed ultrasonically, and the teeth polished afterwards. Teeth that are identified as being severely damaged, loose or diseased will be removed. Some large teeth such as canines may need routine ‘surgical extraction’ and therefore have dissolvable sutures placed in the gum afterwards.
Despite the bad smell that is associated with dental disease, antibiotics are very rarely required. Pain relief will be provided where necessary and post op checks (included in the cost of the dental) are arranged approximately 2 and 10 days after the procedure.
Our Didcot Park Road and Cholsey branches both have dedicated dental suites. These are equipped with a full range of dental care equipment including digital X-ray machines and ultrasonic descalers.
We can carry out a wide variety of dental procedures including routine scaling and polishing, radiographic assessment of teeth, and surgical extractions where required. We also cater for our rabbit and rodent patients and can perform incisor trimming and spur removing from overgrown teeth.
FORLs (Feline Odontoclastic Resorptive Lesions).
More than 70% of cats over 5 years of age may be affected by this problem. The cause is unknown however it can cause significant pain for our feline patients. Small holes appear in the teeth usually along the gum line but may also affect the tooth roots below the surface. The underlying nerves will be exposed, and eating will be painful. For this reason, we always X-ray the mouths of cats to ensure that we are not missing hidden problems. FORLs do not appear as a result of decay so affected teeth cannot be filled, only extracted.
LPGC (Lymphocytic Plasmacytic Gingivostomatitis Complex)
Many cats will suffer from gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) and stomatitis (inflammation of the inside of the mouth) however a certain number will develop LPGC. This condition results in severe, painful inflammation of the mouth which can cause, drooling, halitosis and reduced appetite. The exact cause is unknown but may relate to chronic Feline Calicivirus (FCV) or Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) infections. It is thought that the cat’s immune system over-reacts to even mild presence of bacteria in the mouth. Management is difficult but can be improved with correct dental care, anti-inflammatories and in some cases tooth extraction.