In this final posting on pet dental care, we’re going to address a prophylaxis. A prophylaxis is a professional dental cleaning. Because Fluffy will be anesthetized during this procedure, a physical exam should first be conducted by your vet. Basic blood work can be done to determine such things as liver and kidney function, as well as red and white blood cell counts. Fluffy’s vet is the best person to address any questions or concerns you have about anesthesia procedures and the effects it may have upon Fluffy. After all, she is probably the one who best knows Fluffy from a medical standpoint.
Fluffy will need to be under general anesthesia for various reasons:
- Most vets use an untrasonic scaler from which the noise and buzzing would agitate Fluffy if she were not under anesthesia
- It is easier for both Fluffy and the vet if she is asleep, allowing the exam and teeth cleaning to be performed more efficiently
- Calculus is removed from both above and below the gumline
- X-rays may be needed
- Tooth extractions may be needed
- Fluffy is not trained to ‘rinse and spit’ as is needed with dental work
The length of time needed for this dental procedure varies. A basic cleaning may take 30-60 minutes. Naturally, if anything else is required, such as tooth extraction, the time will be longer. After a basic cleaning, Fluffy will probably be able to go home later that day. The type of postoperative care she will need will depend on the length of the procedure. Your vet will give you instructions.
Preparing Fluffy for this day will go a long way to make her feel more comfortable with both the procedure and being away from you during this time. Explaining to her that she will be going in for this appointment will begin to put her at ease and allow her to begin to prepare herself for this treatment. Tell her that she will be at the vet to have her teeth cleaned and giver her a simple explanation of what will happen. Explain that you will not be with her, reassuring her that she is in good hands with an experienced staff who know her and want her to be as healthy as possible. Most importantly, let her know that you will be there afterwards to pick her up and bring her home.
Many thanks to Dr. Foley, DVM, Excelsior Animal Hospital, Excelsior, MN for vetting this four part article.