Teeth Cleaning

Preparing for Your Pet’s Teeth Cleaning

 

Choosing to have your pet’s teeth cleaned is one of the most important health decisions that you make..

Most animals do not receive daily teeth brushing which allows plaque to build up on the teeth. Plaque mineralizes and becomes calculus which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis. Our professional teeth cleaning can take care of these problems. If left untreated these problems can lead to periodontitis which is an inflammation of the structures that support the teeth. As this disease progresses the gums are no longer able to protect the body from the bacteria in the mouth. These bacteria are then able to enter the animal’s blood stream and cause heart, liver, or kidney disease, in addition to tooth loss. Periodontitis and tooth fractures are very painful. Often we are not aware of our pet’s pain until these problems are repaired, and our pet becomes active and playful again.

 

How often should I have my pet’s teeth cleaned?

The frequency of cleanings is very individualized and depends on a several things (i.e. amount of preventative care such as teeth brushing or t/d diet, the species and breed of animal, and individual difference). Because of these differences we will check your pet’s teeth during each physical exam and let you know if they are in need of a cleaning, rather than prescribing a set period of time for every pet.

 

Why does my pet need anesthesia for teeth cleaning?

The teeth cleaning procedure involves an oral exam, manual scaling, ultrasonic cleaning and polishing of each tooth surface. It would be impossible to perform a thorough cleaning with your pet fully awake. Anesthesia keeps your pet safe, comfortable, stress and pain free during the procedure. We use modern drugs to help make anesthesia safe for your pet. We will assess your pet’s health and do any necessary pre-anesthetic bloodwork before any procedures are performed. With IV fluids and special monitoring equipment during the cleaning even older animals can safely undergo anesthesia. Our certified technicians monitor and assess your pet throughout the procedure. Allowing dental disease to progress unchecked puts your pet at greater risk for unnecessary heart and kidney disease.

 

What can I do at home to keep my pet’s teeth healthy?

You can greatly extend the time between cleanings with diligent home care. We recommend brushing your pet’s teeth at least two to three times each week. This will help to prevent plaque build-up and gingivitis and will allow for fewer cleanings. If brushing is not an option you may want to consider putting your pet on a special tartar control diet. The Hill’s company now makes a food called t/d that is designed to help keep your pet’s teeth clean. This is a highly specialized diet and is available only through veterinarians. We recommend feeding it to your pet as at least 1/4 of the diet.

 

A Note About Extractions:

With severe periodontitis the support structures of the tooth are lost allowing bacteria to attack the tooth roots and surrounding bone of the jaw. This can also happen in teeth which have been fractured with trauma or by chewing on hard bones, rocks, etc. Cats are prone to a special type of cavity which is not treatable by filling because the tooth is eroding from the inside out. For all of these diseased teeth, the only way to remove the pain, restore the health of the mouth (and of the whole body) is to have them extracted. When we examine your pet we can often get a sense of whether extractions will be needed. However, it is only when your pet is anesthetized and the calculus is cleaned from the teeth that we can do a full oral exam to determine what extractions are required. We will provide you with an estimate for possible extractions and make every attempt to call you during the procedure if we feel it is necessary to exceed this estimate.

 

 

 

The complete dental procedure for your pet includes:

 

  • Pre-anesthetic blood testing

  • A full physical exam

  • IV catheter placement, fluids throughout the procedure

  • A full oral exam

  • Complete set of dental x-rays

  • Teeth cleaning, polishing, and fluoride treatment

 

Like you, our greatest concern is the well-being of your pet. Before putting your pet under anesthesia, we will perform a full physical examination. Secondly, your pet is evaluated, and tested for any organ abnormalities that we may be able to detect in the blood, such as, dehydration, diabetes, kidney or liver disease which could complicate the procedure. By doing a pre-anesthetic blood screen we are able to adjust the anesthetic regimen, if necessary (the best and safest - not the least expensive, anesthetic combination for your individual pet is chosen). These tests are similar to those your own physician would run were you to undergo anesthesia. In addition, the results of these tests may be useful later to develop faster, more accurate diagnosis and treatments in the event that your pet’s health changes.

 

An IV catheter is then placed so we can maintain blood pressure, hydration, and organ function while your pet is anesthetized. It is very important for older animals, longer procedures, and any animal with compromised kidney or liver function. For some pets with extensive dental disease or who are older than 10 years this is critical to protect the kidneys.

 

Every procedure we perform uses inhalation (gas) anesthesia so that your pet has a rapid and safe recovery. Specialized monitoring equipment such as ECG and doppler blood pressure are used to provide us with up to the second information on your pet’s cardiac performance. A certified technician continuously monitors your pet while anesthetized.

 

Our dental prophy includes hand scaling of the teeth, ultrasonic scaling, full oral exam including x-rays, polishing and fluoride treatment. We use a combination of local anesthesia and injectable medication when extractions are needed to control pain while hospitalized. The entire procedure is performed by the veterinarian and licensed technician only. We do everything we can to ensure that your pet’s experience is non-traumatic and pain free. We are very proud of the care we provide and the level of safety and comfort we offer our patients.

 

Pain relief in animals is very often ignored because they cannot talk to us. Some symptoms of pain are decreased appetite and activity following teeth cleaning. Some procedures with extensive periodontal disease or tooth extractions cause more discomfort than others. We are now able to prescribe very safe and effective medications to make your pet more comfortable in the days following teeth cleaning. We will prescribe pain medication if your pet needs extractions or has extensive periodontitis.

 

 

If you are wondering where your pet needs a dental cleaning, please call our office at 608-241-1000; We would be happy to schedule an appointment.

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Why We Do Yearly Heartworm Tests

We recommend doing an annual heartworm test on all dogs.  The heartworm tests that we use are called SNAP tests which test for antigens to heartworm and three tick-borne diseases- we can run this test in about 10 minutes with a few drops of blood.

Even if your dog is on heartworm preventative year-round, a heartworm test is still a good idea as part of their annual checkup.  Heartworm disease is spread by mosquitoes, and is a very serious and often fatal condition.  Annual testing ensures that we are catching any infections early and that it is safe for your dog to stay on preventatives.  The test we perform at East Towne Pet Clinic also checks for three tick-borne infections (Lyme disease, Anaplasmosis and Ehrlichiosis.)

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Tick-borne infections are becoming increasingly common.  This map shows the number of cases of vector-borne disease locally.  Zoom into WI, and you can see that we've been diagnosing tick-borne diseases much more frequently than we actually diagnose heartworm disease!  The test is sensitive enough to pick up infections that may be sub-clinical (that is, your dog isn't showing any symptoms) allowing us to manage any infection to prevent problems down the road. Please give our office a call at 608-241-1000, if you have any questions about our recommendations or services. 

For more information on the infections we test for, follow these links:

Heartworm Disease

Lyme Disease

Anaplasmosis

Ehrlichiosis

 

Meet Cathy and Maddie

Here at East Towne Pet Clinic, we greatly enjoy getting to know each of you and your beloved pets!  In an effort to return the favor, this is a continuation of our series of posts to introduce you to our staff members and their special furry friends.

Cathy helping with a dental on Dr. Liz's cat at East Towne Pet Clinic

Cathy helping with a dental on Dr. Liz's cat at East Towne Pet Clinic

Cathy, CVT
Cathy has been working at East Towne Pet Clinic for two and a half years.  Originally from the suburbs of Chicago, she has also lived in northwest Wisconsin and south-central Vermont.  Cathy moved to Madison six years ago to pursue Veterinary Technician school, and she has considered it home ever since.  When not at work, Cathy enjoys exploring all the wonderful sights, sounds, nature, and FOODS that Madison has to offer.  She is fond of running, biking, hiking, cooking (then eating!), and traveling.  She enjoys going up to visit her parents in scenic northwest WI, driving down to the Chicagoland area to see old friends, and/or adventuring in whichever direction the wind may blow her!  She is the single dog-parent of Maddie, a fluffy rescue dog who always keeps her on her toes.

Cathy having a good time out and about in Madison

Cathy having a good time out and about in Madison

Maddie (formally Madigan A. Doogal)
Maddie is an Australian Shepherd/Husky mix from a little shelter in Black River Falls, WI.  Found wandering the streets of the city around St. Patrick's Day wearing nothing but a four-leaf clover collar, the shelter originally named her Patty.  To stay true to her Irish roots, Cathy decided to name her Madigan, an Irish name meaning "little dog".  Maddie has been contributing tons of long, fluffy dog hair to Cathy's life and homestead for the past six years.  Her favorite things are tromping through the snow, playing frisbee, and being a downright ham when meeting new people.

Ms. Madigan A. Doogal and her favorite chicken cat toy

Ms. Madigan A. Doogal and her favorite chicken cat toy

Nicknames: Ham Hock, Turkey Leg, Crazy Eye, Sassy Pants, Li'l Ottoman
Favorite toy:  ridiculous crinkly chicken cat toy (pictured in the above photo!)
Favorite pastimes: chasing (and sometimes awesomely catching!) the frisbee, running maniacally around the dog park without care, napping
Special talent: melting hearts with her wiggly butt
Most endearing quirk: wagging her tail in her sleep

Maddie looking magical in front of the autumn sun.

Maddie looking magical in front of the autumn sun.

Cathy and Maddie enjoying some time at a lake up north.

Cathy and Maddie enjoying some time at a lake up north.

Meet Nick and Stuart

Here at East Towne Pet Clinic, we greatly enjoy getting to know each of you and your beloved pets!  In an effort to return the favor, this is a continuation of our series of posts to introduce you to our staff members and their special furry friends.

Nick
Nick works at East Towne Pet Clinic as a Receptionist and Boarding Staff Member.  He grew up in Mequon, WI, then later moved to River Falls to pursue a bachelors in Animal Science at UW-River Falls.  In the summer of 2014, he moved down to Madison with his partner, Brandon, who works at AT&T as a Retail Sales Consultant.  He is currently studying at Madison Area Technical College for an associates in Veterinary Technology.  In his limited free time, Nick enjoys snowboarding, biking, binge watching Netflix shows (especially Star Trek, Anime, and Sherlock), and reading.

Nick holding Sydney at East Towne Pet Clinic

Nick holding Sydney at East Towne Pet Clinic

Stuart
Nick first met Stuart when he was a foster cat at East Towne Pet Clinic, where he grabbed his attention immediately, and Nick knew right away he was the perfect cat for him and his partner.  The day after he met him, Nick was already sending pictures and videos of Stuart to Brandon.  And the day after that, they decided to send in an application to adopt his rambunctious self.  Since then, their apartment has been an endless show of curiosities, cat-ninja attacks, and love.  Stuart has two modes: sleep and play.  Either he’s cuddling up in his bed or jumping up to reach greater heights.  There is never a dull moment with him!  But the aspect Nick loves most about Stuart is his adorable personality - the way his cute face and kitty antics always make him smile!

Stuart looking ridiculously adorable in a laundry basket

Stuart looking ridiculously adorable in a laundry basket

Nickname:  Lil Stewie
Favorite toy:  anything that moves, even more so if it’s fast!
Favorite pastimes:  chasing leaves that fly by the window, and chilling in the oddest places of the apartment
Special talent:  front summersaults when catching a toy
Most endearing quirk:  meowing about food

all curled up for a nap on the couch

all curled up for a nap on the couch

You'll be hard pressed to find a cuter pair than these two!

You'll be hard pressed to find a cuter pair than these two!

Meet Dr. Jacka and her Pets

Here at East Towne Pet Clinic, our staff members greatly enjoy having the opportunity to get to know each of you and your beloved pets!  We would like to return the favor in our own small way.  This is the first in a series of blog posts to introduce you to our staff members and their special furry friends.

Dr. Liz Jacka
Dr. Liz has been working part time at East Towne Pet Clinic for four years now.  When not at the clinic, she teaches at the Veterinary School at the University of the Wisconsin, where she greatly enjoys mentoring future members of the veterinary profession.  Originally from Kenosha, WI, she moved to Madison with her husband in 2006 to attend veterinary school, and they have considered the Madison area home ever since.  In her spare time, Dr. Liz enjoys reading, running, road biking, watching movies and playing video games.  Her husband, Jeff, is a computer programmer who works for the Department of Public Instruction for the State.  Their furry family includes two cats and a big yellow lab.

Dr Liz with Marcy last summer

Dr Liz with Marcy last summer

Orion
Nicknamed “the doggin,” Orion is a yellow lab rescue from the humane society of Minnesota, where he had trouble finding a home because of severe arthritis in his left hip from an old injury.  Dr. Liz and her husband adopted him, had surgery performed on his bad hip, and helped him through the two-month long recovery.  Afterward, he was able to run and play like a normal lab, and he has been an integral member of the family ever since!  Like most labs, his favorite things in the world are food and fetch, but he is also fond of simply lying at your feet while you read a book out on the deck.

He loves snow!

He loves snow!

Nicknames:  the doggin, the yellow menace, the big one
Favorite toy:  a stuffed turtle that has a hollow belly for hiding treats
Favorite pastimes:  fetch, plowing face-first through snow, napping, shredding boxes
Special talent:  prancing with his front feet
Most endearing quirk:  yawn-barks when he wants attention

 

Marcy
A sassy little torti cat, Marcy is definitely the boss of the house!  She is vocal and demanding, but that only adds to her charm.  Among the most people-centric cats you’ll ever meet, Marcy will greet you at the door right along with Orion.  She practically never stops purring, and she loves nothing more than perching on your shoulders to knead your neck.  Dr. Liz has a lot of experience doing laundry and dishes with a purring, furry scarf draped across her shoulders!  They adopted her through the junior surgery program at the Veterinary School when Dr. Liz was in her third year.  Marcy is the master groomer of the household, as well as an excellent huntress (much to the dismay of the chipmunk who have managed to get in the house a few summers ago.)

Marcy perched at the top of the scratching post.

Marcy perched at the top of the scratching post.

Nicknames: the little one, little love, psycho-cat
Favorite toy:  anything she’s not supposed to have, especially AAA batteries
Favorite pastimes:  sitting in open windows, sleeping on Dr. Liz’s face
Special talent:  ensures the house stays rodent-free
Most endearing quirk:  carries socks all over the house and deposits them in random places

 

Phoenix
A big orange tabby, Phoenix is a little shier than Marcy but no less friendly.  He was found on a farm at a very young age, near death after being abandoned by his mother.  His rescuers nursed him back to health but quickly discovered he was not meant to be an outside farm cat and sought to place him in a home instead.  Dr. Liz and her husband decided to be the ones to give him that home, and now it is hard for them to imagine life without him.  He is a happy-go-lucky cat whose adorable face and personality will win you over in no time!  Phoenix’s favorite thing to do is sit on your lap, especially if you happen to have a fleece blanket.  He has been dubbed the “Nintendo kitty” and “football buddy” because he will sit on the couch with you for hours, content to be the furry paperweight that keeps you playing video games or watching football much longer than you planned to.

Phoenix stretching out happily on the bed

Phoenix stretching out happily on the bed

Nicknames:  the booger, the orange boy
Favorite toy:  little fuzz balls he can carry around in his mouth
Favorite pastimes:  cuddling on the couch, napping under the covers
Special talent:  falling ungracefully off of furniture
Most endearing quirk:  he is very insistent about tucking people into bed every night

Orion and Phoenix, chillin' in the halllway

Orion and Phoenix, chillin' in the halllway

The Importance of Blood Pressure

Most people are aware that maintaining normal blood pressure is essential for maintaining one’s overall health.  Every time we go to the doctor, the nurse checks our blood pressure to ensure it is within the normal range.  For humans, the most common causes of high blood pressure (called hypertension) include obesity, high stress lifestyle, excessive salt intake, high cholesterol and smoking.  If left untreated, high blood pressure can have a number of negative effects on our health.  But what about our pets?  Is blood pressure equally important for their health as it is ours? 

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