If you’ve ever thought “my pet is too young for a dental cleaning” or “my pet’s teeth look clean” you may reconsider. Periodontal disease affects 85% of pets over 3 years of age.
Meet Gunner, a 3 ½ year old Golden Retriever, who suffers from bad breath and a total lack of personal space. That’s why his owner checked him into Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Hospital for a consult with Dr. Winter, a board-certified expert in veterinary dentistry and oral surgery.
Dr. Winter provides dental care based on the American Veterinary Dental College (AVDC) standards of excellence. He begins with an initial consultation before a thorough exam can be done under anesthesia. Anesthesia is the only way to perform a complete dental cleaning including x-rays.
In this initial examination, Dr. Winter will be evaluating Gunner to
•Confirm lymph nodes are not overly firm or enlarged
•Feel in-between the inner mandibular space to check for growths or swellings
•Observe facial symmetry
•Check for signs of eye drainage
•Verify the occlusion is normal with a good scissor bite, making sure the jaw can close comfortably and completely
•Examine gum tissue for swelling or inflammation
After his initial evaluation, Gunner is back to receive a complete dental cleaning with a full oral exam. He’s already received a blood test to check for healthy organ function, to determine he’s healthy enough to undergo anesthesia.
Gunner is given a pre-anesthetic injection to help him relax, as well as provide initial pain management.
Now that he’s groggy, the remaining pre-operative procedures are less stressful. The leg is shaved and disinfected, and a catheter placed and secured. The catheter will allow the start of IV fluids.
An induction agent is given to further anesthetize Gunner for intubation.
An endotracheal tube will enable Gunner to breath in the anesthetic gas and maintain proper oxygen and anesthesia levels throughout the entire procedure. From this point forward, his vitals will be continually monitored and charted by our veterinary technician.
Dr. Winter begins with a systematic dental probing technique to check the attachment of the gum to the tooth, in three places, on both sides of each tooth. If the probe can enter beneath the gum line more than 2 millimeters, it’s likely that there is infection present beneath the gumline or that the tooth has abscessed. This assessment can only be confirmed through dental radiographic imaging, or xrays.
A scaler removes calculous from beneath the gumline and we see that it’s caused redness and inflammation on the gum tissue. After today’s cleaning, that tissue will heal and return to normal.
An ultrasonic scaling tool is used to deeply clean above and below the gumline. This is the most important step in the cleaning, which is why it requires full anesthesia. An awake patient simply would not tolerate the sound of the instruments or the lie still for this type of cleaning. The gum tissue is delicate and there’s a risk of breaking a tooth if the patient was awake. Removing tarter from just the exposed surface is cosmetic, and does nothing for the patient’s oral health.
Throughout the procedure a technician charts vitals as well as physically observes the patient. She’s using advanced medical equipment to monitor ECG, pulse oximeter, two modes of blood pressure monitoring, the patient’s temperature, how well he’s ventilating, and how he’s breathing. She’ll be making adjustment as needed.
Dr. Winter blows air between the tooth and gum, checking to make sure he has removed every bit of tarter.
Gunner’s teeth are polished to smooth out any micro etches caused by our instruments. The paste leaves a clean and smooth enamel surface and is then rinsed away with a disinfecting solution. That’s it! Gunner is ready to be woken up and move to recovery for a few hours before going home.
This entire procedure takes at least an hour depending on the severity of your case. A few signs it’s time for a cleaning are: bad breath, trouble eating, red or inflamed gums, loose or broken teeth. If you’re still not sure, check with your primary veterinarian. They should provide you with a referral for a consultation with Dr. Winter for your dental cleaning. Or, you can call to request an appointment directly. There will be a video of this entire procedure, stay tuned!
Doug Winter, DVM, Dip AVDC Dentistry and Oral Surgery
Holiday Pet Safety Tips
The holidays are upon us, and nothing can spoil the festivities like an emergency trip to the veterinary hospital. Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Hospital of Wichita wants you and your pets to enjoy your traditions, while staying safe, by providing some tips to avoid common holiday pet disasters. Always keep our number in an easy-to-find and know where our hospital is located in case of an emergency:
Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Hospital of Wichita (open 24/7/365) Phone (316) 262-5321 Address 727 S Washington, Wichita
Another important number to have on-hand is ASPCA Poison Control Hotline 1 (888) 426-4435.
SAFE DECORATING TIPS Dogs are opportunistic, typically keeping things out of reach seems to do the trick. However, during the holidays, there are new temptations. Make this holiday season drama free with these learned-from-experience tips.
Tree safety In general, place decorations on high branches or put a gate up around the tree to keep your pet safe. You may also consider anchoring your tree so it doesn’t get knocked over.
Ornaments: Glass ornaments can cause lacerations while popular salt dough ornaments are toxic to dogs. Tinsel and ribbon: If ingested, tinsel can become bound in the intestinal track and require surgical removal. Tree lights: Those twinkling lights are a thing of beauty but could pose the threat of electric shock if the wires become torn and chewed through. Artificial snow: Indoor snow may look magical, but the fake stuff on trees and wreaths may contain highly toxic chemicals
Be mindful of holiday goodies Do not underestimate a hungry dog’s determination when delicious food is all around! Keep pets away from these dangerous foods.
Fruits & Veggies: Avoid garlic, onions, leeks, scallions, chives, and shallots as they are toxic to both cats and dogs. Grapes, raisons, and currents are highly toxic as well. Alcohol: Keep eggnog and other alcoholic beverages up and away from reach. Nuts: Absolutely do not feed pets macadamia nuts. Also avoid black walnuts, raw cashews, English walnuts, and pecans. Candy: Chocolate, especially dark or baker’s chocolate contains theobromine and may cause devastating effects. Sugar-free candy and desserts that contain Xylitol can be lethal even in small doses. Bones and Strings: Bones can cause intestinal upset, blockages or splinter once chewed. Keep pets away from meat-soaked string around roasts, and poultry as they can become bound in the intestines. Caffeine: The holidays can be exhausting and although you may need an extra cup of Joe, be sure to keep your cats and dogs clear of caffeinated beverages, including coffee grounds. Garbage and Countertops: During and after food prep, counters and trash cans are often filled with cooked bones, scraps, plastics and other dangers. Keep counters clear if your pet can reach, and put a lid on the trash.
Avoid decoration disasters Decorating for the holidays can be a joy with these safety tips.
Candles: Be cautious of open flames, if you leave the room, put the candle out. A wagging tail or curious cat can easily knock it over. Modern flameless candles mimic the flickering flame and are pet safe. Plants: Toxicities in common holiday plants can cause mild to severe effects. It’s best to avoid amaryllis, daffodils, poinsettias, holly, and mistletoe. Try pet friendly silk or plastic plants instead. Stockings: If your pet can jump or otherwise gain access to stockings, avoid filling them with items that could be toxic, easily swallowed, or choked on.
The average cost of treating common holiday emergencies: Chocolate Toxicity - $500-2000 Other Toxicity - $500-5000 Fracture repair - $2500-450 GI foreign body - $2500-4000 Pancreatitis - $1000-2500
Dr. Holly Smith earns accreditation as Certified Veterinary Pain Practitioner
IVAPM Certification (CVPP) is a program dedicated to enhancing comfort in animal patients. Candidates must complete rigorous courses in education, training, and hands-on experience in interdisciplinary pain management. Candidates must have 90 hours of pain related continuing education in the previous eight years.
We are proud to announce and congratulate Dr. Holly Smith in passing the final (examination) phase of her certification with the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management. She turned in an astonishing 400 hours of continuing education and now carries the designation of Certified Veterinary Pain Practitioner, CVPP.
Dr. Smith is currently the first and only veterinary professional in Sedgwick County to hold this title.
She said “I want to help pets not only in the peri-operative period but those with chronic pain states, lameness cases that just haven't responded to treatment, older dog’s with arthritis. And as rehab courses are completed, we will be able to help degenerative myelopathy cases with quality of life”. Dr. Smith is passionate about pain control for your pets and believes it is a critical step in the recovery process. Because animals are unable to vocalize pain, she has become an expert in recognizing the signs of pain and treat them appropriately.
Last month VESHW introduced Wichita’s first Veterinary CT scanner. Since its introduction, we’ve performed over 20 scans, revealing internal injuries and diseases not detectable by other methods. We’re proud to share Jersey’s story and her life-saving emergency CT.
Jersey, a 7-year old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, presented with neurological signs. The physical exam findings indicated a lesion inside the head, such as a tumor. The owners agreed to a CT scan for peace of mind.
Jersey continued to show signs of a brain tumor throughout the anesthesia and scan process, however the scan indicated a middle ear infection and a forming tooth abscess. “We were able to treat her dizziness and start an antibiotic. Through the day she recovered from her symptoms and we sent her home wagging her tail. She had a very treatable condition when her clinical symptoms suggested that it wasn't a treatable condition. The CT told us exactly what the problem was and how to treat it. Having that scan literally saved Jersey’s life.” – Holly Smith, DVM
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VESHW is Building a New Hospital
We're proud to announce the construction of our new hospital on the west side of Wichita near 21st Street North and Hoover Road, across from Sedgwick County Zoo. We expect the nearby landmarks and reference points along with good visibility from the street will save pet owners time in an emergency situation. The eight month construction period of the 12,500-square-foot hospital will begin in October, and includes renovating and expanding an existing building.
In addition to our emergency doctors, we have exceptionally qualified specialists in general surgery, radiology, oral surgery, and ophthalmology. Our future goal is to expand our specialties to include cardiology, dermatology, and oncology. The new hospital will be able to better accommodate our expansion of advanced diagnostics equipment, including our heart-echo, ultra-sound, and recently acquired CT scan, which is currently the only veterinary CT offered in Wichita. Advanced CT technology provides 3D views used to diagnose spinal injuries, fractures, brain tumors and masses that x-ray and ultra sound have limitations on.
Our existing practice will remain in place as an urgent care and minor emergency facility in the evenings and on weekends. Critical care patients will be transferred from the current location to the new veterinary hospital.
These renderings will give you a sneak peak at what's to come!