this is a face i'll never see again in its entirety. my dog weeped during teeth cleaning last night and i called the vet, booked an appointment and took her there today. now four hours later she was diagnosed with periodontal disease and is 35 teeth short, with seven remaining.
i was surprised to hear her mouth was such a terrible mess. i am not an inattentive pet owner although i do blame myself for not knowing better. moreover, i blame myself for not taking her subtle hints seriously enough. sure, her breath was foul, but it always was. she still ate her dry kibble with pleasure, but a couple of months ago had stopped chewing dental care bones. i noted the change, but was not alarmed because just the month before she visited a vet because of a tail infection and i asked him to see if her teeth needed cleaning. he assured me her mouth was fine although it was over a year from her last full cleanup.
after ten years of owning a dog i was told today that only checkups under anaesthesia are suitable for diagnosis: although i had subjected my little critter to regular cleanings – not annually – i had not known that x-rays and a tranquilizer were required to certify oral health. after going to vets regularly no-one had told me that.
i don't blame them, though, because they work in an industry where before performing extensive procedures they ask for financial consent. i've never as much as twitched at the bills my dog produces, but have noted the hesitant manner vets usually suggest treatment and diagnoses. i just cannot fathom how this piece of information had escaped me.
most importantly, she'll be fine. she started funny looking and will continue just a tiny bit more so. according to the vet she'll enjoy eating better with healthy gums than with her infected teeth. the operation will also make sure her lower jaw won't break off (seriously!).
if you've got a dog of your own, make sure you've got their dental health in check. and do not trust vets who claim that merely looking at the teeth while the dog is awake is enough. mine will never visit the place she got a clean bill of dental health at just months ago but will from now on stick to haumau in töölö where her care has always been exceptional.