Portland Veterinarian Encourages Pet Owners to Celebrate Pet Dental Health Month

PORTLAND, Ore., Feb. 17, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Portland veterinarian Dr. Rick White of Cedar Mill Veterinary Hospital invites pet owners to mark Pet Dental Health Month by doing something to take care of their pets' teeth. Dr. White says that nearly 80 percent of adult cats and dogs have never had professional dental care, or any home dental care, resulting in various states of periodontal disease. He says that periodontal disease is extremely painful for pets and can cause severe organ damage if left untreated. He says pets should have a professional cleaning annually and that pet owners should brush their pets' teeth daily.

Dr. White says there are several dental disease symptoms pet owners should be aware of. "If your pet has really bad breath, swollen, receding or bleeding gums, has lost any teeth, seems to be in pain when eating or has a yellow or crusty film on the teeth, it's important to come in for a pet dental checkup as soon as possible. Periodontal disease is very painful for cats and dogs and the bacteria that cause it can damage the liver, heart and kidneys."

The Portland veterinarian says that pets should come in at least once a year for a dental checkup. He explains that during these checkups, he and a skilled veterinary technician work together to examine the pet's dental condition and will then scale and polish the teeth. Polishing prevents future tartar build up, adds Dr. White, particularly when accompanied by home dental hygiene. He says checkups and extractions or oral surgery are performed under anesthesia after a pet has had a complete blood test. He says a technician monitors the pet's vital signs and pain levels, administering pain medications when necessary.

Dr. White is adamant about teaching pet owners how to get their pets used to having their teeth brushed each day. He recommends starting at the same time and place every day, where the pet is comfortable and feels relaxed. He then suggests getting the pet used to having fingers in its mouth by dipping a finger in some tasty broth and letting the pet lick it off, then moving on to rubbing the pets gums with it. Over the course of a few days, a special pet toothbrush and pet toothpaste can be added to the mix, he says. He also adds that sometimes a water-bowl additive and special dental treats can help as well.

Dr. White says, "Brushing your pet's teeth may seem daunting at first, but with a lot of patience, praise and persistence, most pets actually learn to enjoy it—and it keeps them healthy!"

Cedar Mill Veterinary Hospital in Portland provides pet wellness and sick care, pet surgery, pet dentistry, acupuncture, vaccinations, dermatology and pet boarding for cats and dogs. Their website is http://www.cedarmillvet.com.


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