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Old 08-14-2009, 10:01 AM
1 posts, read 11,110 times
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I get my 11 year old Maltese's teeth cleaned annually by her vet. This week I took her in to get them cleaned and the vet called me back and said that she needed to have ALL of her teeth pulled. I told her no, I didn't think that was a good idea. She says that she would just have to come back again in 6-7 months to have them done again and that they can't keep giving her anesthesia. Has anyone had to have all of their pets teeth pulled? Can anyone suggest an alternative? I don't want bacteria spreading through her system, but I think puling all her teeth is a little extreme.
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Old 08-14-2009, 10:40 AM
Location: California
10,091 posts, read 34,101,919 times
Reputation: 22017
This is the most common of diseases of the dogs mouth. It begins as gingivitis, with food trapped in pockets along the gum line. The pockets get infected, gums become soft and mushy and recede. The dogs breath is usually strong enough to stop a train. If left alone, the teeth begin to loosen and root infections start to happen.
I imagine the disease has progressed or he probably would have prescribed an oral antibiotic for a few weeks. If it continues to get worse, not only the teeth will have to be pulled, but they could remove portions of the gums as well.
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Old 08-14-2009, 11:48 AM
7,079 posts, read 32,422,710 times
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My rescue chihuahua had to have all her teeth pulled when I adopted her (her prior family didn't take good care of her). And she's GAINED weight, she's eating EVERYTHING. Her teeth must have been hurting her terribly when I got her because she wouldn't eat ANYTHING. She's so much happier without those nasty teeth!

Also, because her teeth were neglected she developed a permanent fistula (abnormal opening) between her mouth and her nose and now sneezes a LOT. She's also at higher risk of sinus infection because of the permanent fistula.

DO take your dog back, have her teeth pulled. They're probably KILLING her with pain!
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Old 08-14-2009, 12:11 PM
795 posts, read 3,560,783 times
Reputation: 958
pl -- i have a couple of questions:

1. why do you think it's extreme to pull all of her teeth? are you worried that she would be uncomfortable/unable to eat? do you think the vet is just trying to bilk you out of money? do you just not like the idea of her having no teeth? why does that idea feel repulsive to you?

2. how do her teeth look to YOU? if you have her teeth cleaned every year, i am guessing (maybe incorrectly) that you also brush her teeth at home? do her teeth look yellow and plaque-y? or do they look healthy, and this is what is putting you off the idea?

3. does your dog have other health problems that would make your vet genuinely concerned about continuing with anesthesia so frequently? (lots of people think putting a pet under anethesia for teeth cleaning is, in and of itself, dangerous and unnecessary anyway... but that is a whole different topic... and one that i am not pointing fingers about.)

4. can you get a second opinion from a vet you trust?

5. i am actually starting "pulse therapy" with my soon-to-be 13-year old shih tzu this month. maybe that might be something you would want to discuss with your vet. in pulse therapy, you administer a week's worth of antibiotics to your dog each month to clear up mouth and tooth infections... you use this treatment in situations where your dog can't be anethesized for dental cleanings. (since we haven't started yet, i have no opinions either way on this therapy.)

just a sidenote: barnaby is losing some of his teeth just naturally due to old age, and he is ADORABLE and so sweet and vulnerable without them... but he hasn't lost ALL of his teeth, and i do realize that's different.

so, good luck! i hope you find an answer you're comfortable with...
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Old 08-14-2009, 10:29 PM
Location: Las Vegas
2,656 posts, read 4,622,690 times
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Without looking inside your dogs mouth I cannot comment on if it is needed. I am rather surprised the vet didn't call you DURING the procedure because for the extractions you dog will obviously need to be put under again. Sometimes small dogs do require extreme dental measures especially if the teeth were neglected at some point.

Someone suggested getting a second opinion from a different clinic which is a good idea if you have your doubts.

What I would suggest is this:

Take the dog in to whatever second clinic YOU decide.

DO NOT mention what the previous vet mentioned.

Simply take the dog in for a general wellness check...if needed simply say because the dog is getting older.

While the vet is doing the exam casually ask how the teeth look.

That is probably your best bet on getting an honest answer.
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Old 08-15-2009, 11:09 AM
Location: Georgia
399 posts, read 1,764,780 times
Reputation: 339
There are some dogs that are just predisposed to periodontal disease. I had one client w/ a maltese that had sparkling teeth at 11 and never a dental cleaning and ate table food. Her new one is three and she has to be religious about brushing, but she is headed to needing a cleaning and we are trying to brush more to prevent that. Each dog is different.

Loose teeth are SORE. Infected teeth and gums are extremely sore. Not to mention the overload of bacteria that your dog has in her mouth. The bacteria is also getting in the circulatory system and you are setting her up for heart problems. Get them out and she will be MUCH healthier and comfortable.

One of my favorite shelties at the hospital boarded all of the time. He had no teeth left, but lots of energy and life!! He hated canned food and we loved watching him eat dry food (mini bites). He was deliriously happy at meal time and would pick up the food and toss it around with his tongue and swallow it whole (they were tiny kibbles). Honestly, I think it must have been easier for him to deal with a piece of food rather than canned that he would have to work harder at getting out of the bowl.

Dogs are incredibly resiliant. With no teeth they don't go in the bathroom and cry over it and worry about what others would say....they live life to the fullest anyway!! Make your puppy comfortable and healthier.
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