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PREVENTATIVE ORAL SCREENINGS & CLEANINGS WITHOUT ANESTHESIA: HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?

Kaycee.jpg

Hi, my name is Kacee and I am an LVT (Licensed Veterinary Technician) with Animal Dental Care. I have been performing PDCA’s on cats and dogs for almost 8 years. PDCA is short for a preventive dental cleaning and assessment, which is essentially a dental cleaning without the use of anesthesia. What I do does not equally replace a regular anesthetic dental, so anesthetic dentals cannot be dismissed altogether. A PDCA is a valuable tool to use in-between veterinarian recommended anesthetic dentals.

During your pets care with me, I will perform an assessment of the teeth before I begin my work, also checking under lips and tongue. Just as your dental hygienist does, I will use the ultrasonic scaler to clean their teeth of any tartar and plaque buildup. If they are too noise-sensitive I can often just handscale depending on the degree of the disease. I then polish, rinse, probe, chart all findings as I go and report to a veterinarian if needed. On average the procedure takes 20-30 minutes and the animals do surprisingly well. I work in a room alone, just me and the pet. Because it is just us two, the patient is not distracted by anything else, such as their family, other pets, or happenings in the treatment area of the hospital.  I have only been bitten once and it was when I was getting a dog out of a kennel. During a PDCA no one has gotten me yet! Fingers crossed…

In general pets who receive PDCA’s are recommended to see me every 6 months. However, small breeds and geriatrics are notorious for having a higher grade of dental disease and typically do better with PDCA’s on a quarterly schedule.

There are a few main differences between a PDCA and an anesthetic dental.

1.       The first and most obvious is that no anesthesia or sedatives are needed for a PDCA. I use a towel to swaddle-wrap cats and small/medium dogs. I sit on the floor and gently lay them in my lap just as you would an infant. Large dogs tend to just lay down and I put a leg around their rear end to keep them in position.  Some older dogs don’t like lying down, so I just have them stand up or sit down, however they are comfortable which is most important!

2.       There are no radiographs (x-rays) taken during PDCA’s. I am unable to see any pathology under the gums since it nearly impossible to take oral films on an awake patient. I do however, probe under the gums and feel for pockets, lesions, or any abnormalities in the tooth’s texture. If I find anything concerning, I immediately pause the procedure and discuss the findings with a veterinarian. The DVM listens to my concerns, examines the mouth and lets me know whether I should discontinue the procedure and recommend a regular anesthetic dental or continue with my cleaning.

3.       I cannot work on them all! Every pet I work on needs to be screened by a veterinarian before I meet them. This is to ensure they have no major pathology present and are of an agreeable temperament. Both factors play a vital role in the success of a PDCA. In addition, some pets do not tolerate even gentle restraint, and others are very anxious with the noise of the ultrasonic scaler. I do have an extremely high success rate, but some pets are just not suited to the procedure. Often the happy go lucky nice dogs are wiggly and the little shy ones do amazing! Honestly you just never know how they will do. I take my time with them and recognize they are nervous. I talk to them, give them little breaks and lots of love. I do my best to treat them like they are my own.

Click  here  to learn more about Animal Dental Care.

Click here to learn more about Animal Dental Care.

I have been working strictly on teeth for many years and it has taught me how important it is to keep up oral care. Generally speaking, a PDCA is a straightforward, in-and-out procedure but I can also find things that need further evaluation.  In the past I have found some crazy things like sticks lodged in palates, fractures under the gums, toy pieces stuck in between teeth, exposed pulp, and even hiding masses/growths. I will not clean your pet’s teeth if they need in-depth care that a routine cleaning cannot fix.  As for home care, I strongly recommend brushing your pet’s teeth. It’s hard I know, but don’t give up! The benefits are tremendous!

Interested in learning if your pet is a good candidate? Schedule an exam and screening here!

 

Why Do Dogs Chase Their Tails?

Cartoon: Ever have one of those days when you feel like you're chasing your own tail

Dogs are playful.  Yes, it is possible your dog is literally chasing their tail.  They might be keeping themselves entertained.

Learning about their bodies.  Just like infants, puppies are becoming aware of their bodies.

Rewarded behavior.  If you laugh at, or scold, your dog when they chase their tail, they take this as an opportunity get attention.

Breed specific.  Believe it or not, some breeds are more prone to “whirl!”  German Shepherds and Terriers are more likely to find amusement in their tails.

Medical concerns.  Although it’s usually entertaining to watch your pup chasing their tail, there are times when this behavior requires medical intervention.  A few concerns include:

  • Fleas and/or intestinal parasites
  • Impacted anal glands
  • Arthritis
  • Senior dogs who have not had this type of quirk might be presenting cognitive disorders

Please call us or schedule an appointment on-line if you have any concerns.


Why Does My Cat Lick Me All The Time?

gray cat licking orange and white cat

Bonding--When a cat licks you, they are saying, “I trust you.”  They are comfortable getting close to you and giving you the same attention they would give their kitten.

Territorial--Cats lick each other as a means of social bonding.  They rely heavily on scent.  When they lick you, they are marking you with their smell.  In other words, they are saying, “this is my person.”

You might need grooming--If you are one of the lucky people who receive “baths” from your cat, you know their tongues feel like sandpaper.  A cat’s tongue is covered with papillae (backward-facing hooks made of keratin) which help them keep things clean.  They remove meat from bones and dirt from fur.  When your cat licks you, they might be saying, “you need help keeping clean.”

cat licking

They might like the taste of you--Sweat contains sugar and salts, such as sodium, chloride, and potassium. When your sweat evaporates, it can leave sweet or salty residue on your skin that animals can smell and/or taste

Anxiety--Some anxiety can be normal for cats—especially when their environments change—but any time a cat begins licking more excessively than normal, it is best to schedule an appointment with us.  Beyond extreme anxiety, medical concerns include:

  • Fleas, allergies, and skin infection; pain, excessive stress, to name a few. 
  • Male cats who excessively lick their genitals may suffer from urinary infection or obstruction—this requires immediate attention.

If your cat is licking more than normal, please call us or request an appointment online.