Dog Tooth Cleaning, Houndstooth Pet Teeth Cleaning
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Houndstooth Dental, Dog Teeth Cleaning, Cat Teeth Cleaning, Non-Anesthetic Dental Cleaning for Dogs and Cats

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Stevie, Dixie, Jordy & Ginger -
Their Stories of Love & Heartbreak

When you first see the photos of our horror story pets, what’s your initial reaction? Is it “how could anyone let this happen”? Those people should be arrested for animal abuse? There might even be a few of you who are thinking” Oh God,that looks my dog”. Well, surely these dogs must come from abusive homes where they spend their days in back yards with no human contact. Or maybe they were street rescues. Actually, each one of these dogs comes from a loving home with doting guardians.                                          

Please keep in mind that these are situations where the owners were desperate & could find no one to help them. Their regular vets had no resources to treat them & the pets were not suitable candidates for anesthesia. Imagine yourself in their shoes. What would you do? At this point, damage control is all that can be offered but that is often enough to improve the quality of life for these special needs pets. If ever there were an incentive to pay attention to our pet’s dental health, this is it.

 Here are their stories.

Stevie's Story

Stevie’s mom contacted our office inquiring about a non anesthetic cleaning for Stevie. Based on her description of his dental condition, it was suggested that Stevie have an anesthetic dental procedure instead. However, Stevie’s mom was extremely fearful of anesthesia since her last dog died during a routine anesthetic procedure. She stated that she would never consent to an anesthetic cleaning since she could not bear that kind of loss again.

She made an appointment for a non-anesthetic evaluation at a nearby veterinary office. During the evaluation it was determined that Stevie had advanced periodontal disease with several loose teeth needing extractions.

It was explained to Stevie’s mom that this situation required surgical intervention & that a non-anesthetic cleaning was not appropriate.  She remained steadfast in her insistence that no anesthesia be used. That is, until she was shown the row of mobile teeth moving back & forth in her little Stevie’s mouth. Appropriately horrified, she was now willing to listen to a detailed explanation of why this was not a routine cleaning situation.

Stevie’s blood tests indicated he was a good candidate for anesthesia & he was scheduled for his surgery. X-rays indicated that most of his teeth were beyond salvation.

While Stevie lost many of his teeth, he regained a new found exuberance that his mom had not seen in years. The few remaining teeth are cleaned without anesthesia every 3 months and Stevie’s mom wipes them daily.

Jordy's Story

Jordy came to his first appointment, wearing a royal blue sweater & in the arms of a handsome man who lovingly cradled him as though Jordy was his son.

Jordy, a 15 yr. old terrier with a heart & neurological condition had received his last yearly anesthetic dental one year ago.   Although his regular vet recommended that Jordy have another anesthetic dental, his dad, Mike was afraid to subject him to the risk. The last dental took a lot out of Jordy & it took several days for him to recover. No follow-up cleanings were ever available for Jordy & Mike was never instructed on how to perform any simple home care. Consequently, Jody’s oral health quickly reverted back to the severe condition it was in originally between anesthetic dental cleanings.

Mike had heard about a possible non-anesthetic alternative & had already decided that if one could not be found, he would not have Jordy’s teeth cleaned again. As he stated, he would rather have bad teeth on a live dog than clean teeth on a dead dog. When he consulted his regular vet regarding trying non-anesthetic dental cleanings, he was told that it would be a waste of money & time and it would not help Jordy in any way. However, he did not have any alternatives to offer.

During the exam, Jordy laid quietly like a doll snuggled in his fuzzy sweater. The first thing noticed was a thick mass of fur woven in & out of Jordys lower incisors & canines. Severe gum recession was present & there was abundant plaque & calculus throughout the mouth. There was a tremendously foul odor. Deep periodontal pockets were present. There were no loose teeth except a few hair ridden incisors. Jordy had been on antibiotics for several days in an attempt to combat the bacteria that was plaguing him in lieu of the anesthetic dental cleaning that Mike had refused.

Jordy received a gross debridement & perio cleaning. He slept through most of it. Dad was shown how to perform daily home care & follow-up appointments were scheduled. Jordy continued to receive maintenance cleanings every 4 months. 

Jordy passed away at the age of 17. His dad called to express his gratitude for being there for Jordy. He & his wife believed his regular dental care was a major factor in Jordy’s longevity.
 We all miss him.

Dixie's Story

Dixie had a good life. She lived in the country with her human mom & dad, George & Linda and 3 canine companions. She was quite the sports enthusiast. Weekends were spent boating or hiking or hunting. All the dogs slept on the bed with mom & dad. All of the dogs received non-anesthetic dental cleanings but only once a year instead of the recommended twice a year.  Her 3 younger companions were maintaining reasonably well on a once yearly schedule but Dixie required more frequent care as she aged. Her guardians were reluctant to schedule her additional cleanings, preferring to keep everyone on the same schedule.

After each non-anesthetic cleaning, George & Linda were shown how to perform a simple wiping technique to keep the teeth clean. However, it was never done. Linda said that Dixie didn’t let her & George joked that that’s what he paid us for. No amount of admonishment or instruction could motivate them to take more control of Dixie’s dental health.

When Dixie was 12, she needed a lipoma (benign fatty tumor) removed. It was recommended that she have her teeth cleaned while she was already under anesthesia for the surgery. Two years passed before Dixie was brought in for her next veterinary appointment.  At that time she was ill & her symptoms included loss of appetite, weight loss, incontinence, diarrhea, lethary & depression. Her veterinarian prescribed antibiotics & suggested that her teeth may be contributing to her illness. She had developed advanced periodontal disease and required an anesthetic dental procedure. However, lab results indicated that she was not a good candidate for anesthesia. A non-anesthetic procedure was recommended instead in order to give her some relief. Dixie was 14 when this photo was taken.

A follow-up call 24 hrs. after her cleaning revealed that Dixie was not only eating but actually begging for food. Her diarrhea was gone. She was no longer hiding under the table & wanted to go on walks again. Unfortunately, this experience did not prompt George & Linda to change their behavior.

Ginger's Story

Ginger, a 15 yr old cocker spaniel appeared in the back of a little red wagon, carefully padded with children’s blankets & surrounded by squeaky toys. Her long blond fur was shiny & there wasn’t a mat to be seen, not even on her long, fluffy ears. Ginger’s mom, April, a handicapped woman with a kind face & resolute attitude had come to plead on Ginger’s behalf. Ginger had stopped eating.

April had called weeks prior, stating that her elderly dog, who had kidney disease, a severe heart condition & glaucoma was in dire need of a dental but her veterinarian would not do the job. Based on the description she gave of Ginger’s mouth, she was advised to seek out a veterinary dentist. Weeks later she called to ask for another suggestion since there were no such drs. anywhere near her. By that time she had also been seen by a second vet who refused her but referred her to a third vet. Who also refused to help Ginger. These vets were not being cruel. They just did not have any resources to help Ginger’s dental disease without the possibility of her dying from the anesthetic since she was so old & frail. With each unproductive appointment, April incurred the expense of a consultation & office visit. She had already paid for the blood test. This was already a hardship for her since she was disabled & living on a very low income. She did not own a car and so had to borrow one for each appointment. Since Ginger was nearly totally blind, she pulled Ginger everywhere she needed to go in that little red wagon.

Ginger had been on antibiotics for months. Her last anesthetic dental was 3 years prior, at which time there were complications. Her vet advised against any future anesthesia. April stated that she tried to brush the dog’s teeth but it was very difficult since Ginger lost her sight & now snapped wildly at anything that touched her mouth. April was diligent in other areas of care like grooming & giving her meds. Ginger was carried outside to go potty several times a day. When she stopped eating her dog food, April started cooking all of Ginger’s meals-chicken & rice, all that she could afford. But now Ginger was not interested in her chicken & rice.

During the exam, April was told that Ginger’s condition was beyond what anyone could help. It was clear that some teeth were just being held in place by the massive amount of calculus. But April was desperate to help her beloved companion & by this point everyone was crying over the state Ginger was in. After verifying that indeed her regular vet would not (understandably) work on Ginger & explaining that any care would be an effort to just give some relief & remove some of the immense bacterial burden Ginger was enduring, Ginger was laid gently in mom’s lap & a gross debridement was slowly & meticulously begun. Ginger never snapped. She never moved. She just napped. While nothing could be done to treat the loose teeth or repair the extensive tissue damage, most of the topical debris was cleared. This afforded Ginger considerable relief. April was shown how to wipe the teeth & follow-up appointments were recommended. A few days later, April called to say that Ginger was eating well & was more energetic. While this scenario is never something anyone wants to encounter, it is a tragic reality.

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