At Pascoe Vale Veterinary Hospital, we are very focused on dental prevention. We discuss dental issues with our clients until our jaws ache but Milo, our hero of the month, is a testament to what great dental prophylaxis can do.
Milo is a 4 and a half year old Maltese cross. We first met Milo back in July 2011 when his owners brought him in lamenting about the state of his teeth. His female owner is a dental nurse and was upset that Milo had smelly breath (haliotosis) and visible tartar accumulation on his canines, premolars and molars.
Milo was a model patient and allowed us to conduct a full examination. We discussed with his owners about changing his diet to dental food (one that shears plaque off teeth), brushing his teeth on a regular basis and other forms of dental prophylaxis. Even his owners were surprised at what was available to treat Milo's dental issues. Lucky for Milo the tartar accumulated was still at a stage where clinical signs are reversible. They were willing to have a dental performed under general anaesthetic if necessary but wanted to try conservative treatment at home.
Milo's owners got serious. They changed his food to just dry dental food, started only giving him dental treats and brushed his teeth almost on a daily basis. It helped considerably that his female owner knew all the tricks of the trade! The rest of the family participated in a roster to brush his teeth too. They also gave him raw bones to chew on which he loves.
After 2 months, from having a dental grade of 1-2, Milo achieved a perfect 0. His breath is lovely and fragrant (since they use the Aquadent® in his water) and he has been able maintain beautiful pearly whites for over 12 months with their constant care!
So, yes, it does take commitment of time and involvement of the entire family but the other option is a clean and polish under general anaesthetic. If it can be avoided this should be celebrated. Well done to Milo and his family!