A case of bad breath - Sesha's story

Sesha is a 10 year old Minature Fox Terrier who was brought to our clinic last month because her owner had become aware that she had very bad breath! Dr Amy 'flipped the lip' to expose the teeth and gums, which revealed the cause of the bad breath - dental disease. There was a significant accumulation of tartar on the premolar and molar teeth. Furthermore, one premolar was fractured and had become infected. Sesha's owner explained that she had been fed dry food in the past. However, recently Sesha had become unwilling to eat dry food and her diet now consisted of a home-cooked meal (rice, pasta, meat) combined with wet dog food.

Dental disease is the accumulation of plaque and tartar on the teeth and subsequent inflammation of the gums. In the case of severe dental disease, the roots of the teeth can become infected and diseased. This causes discomfort and pain. (Imagine the pain you would feel if you had a diseased tooth in your mouth!) However, often owners will be unaware that their pet is in pain because they will still manage to eat by selectively using other teeth in the mouth. Furthermore, in the case of wet food, animals can avoid chewing by simply swallowing the food. An additional consequence of dental disease is that the bacteria associated with the dental disease can enter the blood stream and infection can spread to other parts of the body.

In the case of dental disease, a general anaesthetic is required to scale and polish the teeth to remove the plaque and tartar. The health of all the teeth are assessed and any infected or diseased teeth are extracted. Following the dental procedure, it is important that changes are made to diet and management to prevent the plaque and tartar from accumulating once again.

Now back to Sesha. Dr Amy performed a complete physical examination and blood test to assess Sesha's general health and suitability for the general anaesthetic. Sesha returned the following day for the dental procedure. Under general anaesthetic, a dental scaler was used to remove the plaque and tartar. All the teeth were assessed and it was determined that two teeth needed to be extracted - the fractured right upper premolar and the left upper premolar which was also diseased. Nerve blocks were performed to desensitise both sites and the two teeth were easily extracted. Sesha recovered well from the general anaesthetic and was able to go home that evening with lovely clean teeth and fresh smelling breath!

We have now worked out a dental disease prevention plan with Sesha's owner. Sesha is no longer being fed wet food. Instead, she is only fed a Dental dry food (Hills T/D Small Bites). Interestingly, since the dental procedure Sesha is once again happy to eat dry food. Sesha is also to be fed a daily dental treat (such as a raw-hide chew, Greenie, Dentastix, roo-tail) and Aquadent added to her drinking water. Sesha's owner has been taught how to brush Sesha's teeth which she will do on a regular basis. With these dental disease prevention measures in place, Sesha will have pearly whites and pleasant breath for many days to come.

Have you noticed that your pet has bad breath too? Why not book them in for a free dental check today? We may be able to free your pet from the pain and discomfort of dental disease as well as making your pet much more pleasant to be up close and personal with.