Primary Care Services
Allergy and Itchy Skin Relief
Did you know that your pets can have allergies just like you? They can experience allergies to common environmental factors, parasites, and even some ingredients in food.
Some signs your pet may be suffering from an allergy can include:
- Itchy, or red/pink skin
- Unusual scratching or itching
- Discharge from the eyes or nose
- Hair loss
If you suspect that your pet could be suffering from an allergy, it is recommended that you schedule to have an examination and consultation with your veterinarian. Your doctor will be able to assess your pet, discuss his or her symptoms, and conduct any necessary tests to help isolate the allergy. Together, you can decide on which course of treatment will help restore your pet to good health.
Dogs and cats don't often get cavities. But they do frequently suffer from periodontal or gum disease, which can actually affect the overall health of dogs and cats.
What you need to know about dental care for your pet
- Dental disease can cause serious problems for your pet, ranging from gum inflammation and tooth loss to infection and even vital organ damage.
- Dental disease can be easily prevented by following your veterinarian's advice regarding dental examinations, home care, and dental cleanings.
The Dangers of Periodontal Disease
What is periodontal disease? Periodontal disease is when the bacteria found in dental plaque causes disease of the teeth or their roots, the gums, or underlying bone in the jaw. Without proper dental care, this plaque can build up, and accumulate on the teeth and over some gum tissue, leading to inflammation and infection. Periodontal disease can lead to serious pain, infection, and tooth loss. The infection can also result in bacteria entering the bloodstream and damaging other organs or body systems in your pet.
Signs of poor dental health
- Bad breath
- Visible tartar on the teeth
- Swelling under the eyes
- Loose or missing teeth
- Difficulty eating
- Discharge from the nose
- Drooling or excessive salivation
- Pawing at the teeth or mouth
- Discoloration or staining of the teeth
- Red, irritated, swollen, or bleeding gums
- Weight loss or loss of appetite
- Lethargy and loss of vitality
The good news, however, is that the likelihood of dental disease occuring is decreased by regular dental examinations, home care, and dental cleanings. Preventative dental care is the best way to keep periodontal disease from affecting your pet.
Home Dental Care
One of the best forms of oral home care is daily brushing with soft toothbrush and veterinary toothpaste. Do not use human toothpaste. During your pet's examination we can demonstrate how to brush your pet's teeth. For some pet owners, though, teeth brushing is too challenging, either because the pet resists, or the owner is not comfortable brushing the pet's teeth. Fortunately, there are many great options if that is the case. From dental chews to supplements added to meals, to special dental treats or dental diets, there are a lot of ways that pet owners can help maintain oral health in their companion dog or cat.
What should I do about broken teeth?
Broken teeth can be extremely painful for pets and can lead to abscess formation or even chronic infection. Immediate treatment is very important. After an examination to assess the broken tooth is performed, treatment recommendations will be made. This might include extraction. In veterinary medicine, advanced dentistry procedures are also available through referral, such as a root canal, if the goal is to preserve the tooth.
Professional Dental Cleanings
A thorough professional dental cleaning, with the patient under anesthesia, removes the plaque and tartar both above and below the gum line. This proactive treatment is aimed at maintaining the natural oral defenses so that periodontal disease and other dental problems have a harder time becoming established. The frequency of dental cleanings depends on how the oral health is maintained, and often on the age of the pet. Older pets may need cleanings more frequently than younger patients. A good home care program can tremendously extend the positive effects of the professional cleaning.
Does my pet need to be anesthetized during cleanings?
Yes. Unlike with human patients, veterinary patients will not stay still and tolerate a dental cleaning. The same equipment used in humans is used for dogs and cats, and so it is very important that the patient be anesthetized to ensure that they will remain still. Also, when anesthesia is used, veterinary staff can then access the entire mouth and gums and perform the necessary work thoroughly and safely. Pre-anesthetic testing is necessary to make sure there are no hidden health problems that could affecgt your pet's ability to undergo the procedure.
I'm not sure I can afford dental cleanings every year.
While dental cleanings may seem like an added expense, they're actually a very cost-effective investment in your pet's health. Caught early, dental problems can often be treated in a very straight forward manner. If not addressed, dental problems can turn into serious, costly, and painful problems for dogs and cats.
At Livingston Veterinary Clinic, we can perform a variety of surgeries for our canine and feline patients. Elective surgeries such as spays and neuters are available. We do not perform declaws on cats. Other surgeries can include mass removal, laceration repair, cystotomies (remove bladder stones), foreign body removal, anal gland removal, splenectomy, and aural hematoma repair. We perform dental cleanings as well.
Prior to surgery, the patient is evaluated by physical examination and bloodwork. Once it is determined that the pet is a good candidate for anesthesia, we proceed with the utmost care in providing anesthesia and support, performing the surgery, and monitoring them throughout the procedure. We then supervise our patients closely as they recover from anesthesia. An appointment is set up with our clients at the end of the day, for their pet's discharge from the hospital. We can then go over the procedure and answer any questions about their pet's procedure that might have arisen during the day. Often, there are medications that will be sent home for the pet to help with any discomfort they might experience after surgery. These will be reviewed with the client at the surgical discharge appointment.
Wellness Exams not only help flag any potential problems with your pet's health, but they are also important in creating an overall medical history for your pet. By meeting regularly with your pet, your veterinarian is able to become better acquainted with his or her personal history, and is able to offer more personalized care.
For pets who are 6 years and younger, Wellness Exams are recommended at least once a year. Because pets age much quicker than humans, for pets over 6 years of age, Wellness Exams are recommended at least twice a year, to screen for any sign of illness or diseases.
A Wellness Exam will include the following:
- A consultation with your veterinarian during which you will discuss your pet's day-to-day routine as well as any health concerns or questions you may have. You might be asked questions about his or her activity level, personality and nutrition.
- A hands-on examination performed by your veterinarian, which will assess your pet's overall health from nose to tail. Areas examined will include the abdomen, head and neck, eyes, ears, mouth and skin. In addition, the doctor will also evaluate your pet’s musculoskeletal system, as well as listen to their heart and lungs.
Other, additional annual procedures also typically performed at the time of a Wellness Exam include:
- Vaccines ̶ your veterinarian will update any necessary vaccines.
- Intestinal Parasite Exam ̶ a stool sample will be sent off to the lab to check for any worms or other intestinal parasites
- Additional Diagnostic Testing ̶ any additional diagnostic testing pertinent to your pet's life stage. This could include blood tests, urinalysis, or radiographs as needed.