One of the truly great things about being a veterinarian is that our daily professional life is never boring or routine. Most practicing veterinarians are general practitioners. Yes, we do have specialists including board certified surgeons, internists, dermatologists, opthalmologists, radiologists, oncologists, and even behavioralists available when needed. Central Florida specialists are readily available when needed but most of the cases we general practitioners see each day are handled locally in our own practices. We are general veterinary practitioners who are more like pediatricians, family medicine practitioners and general surgeons in the human medicine field. I love the variety and challenges of this situation and it is what keeps me interested and engaged, even after 45 years in my profession.
One big difference between human medicine and veterinary medicine is the field of dentistry. Medical Doctors do not practice dentistry. Veterinarians however are also general dentists for our canine and feline patients. Yes there are veterinarians who are board certified veterinary dentists who can perform root canals, rebuild chipped or broken fangs and even some orthodontic procedures but it is the general practitioner who extracts baby teeth that did not get pushed out at the right age, performs dental scaling and polishing, takes X-rays to evaluate periodontal disease and eventually extracts teeth when needed. Rarely do we need to refer a dental patient to a specialist.
The American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Animal Hospital Association and other national and state associations have designated February as national Pet Dental Health Month. There will be press releases and reminders of the importance of pet dental health. February was selected for this emphasis of pet dental health many years ago because much of the United States and Canada are snowed in and practitioners have ample time to schedule pet health examinations and dental prophylactic cleaning procedures. Florida is different! This is a month of very nice weather and there are many winter guests present with their pets.
Kissimmee Animal Hospital and Poinciana Pet Clinic have chosen to make the entire year a Pet Dental Health Year and we offer complimentary dental examinations throughout the year for established or new patients. We invite anyone to schedule an appointment for complimentary pet dental health examinations. We do ask that new patients provide proof of current rabies vaccination to take advantage of this offer.
A dental examination can be accomplished in 5-10 minutes or less and will be performed to determine a dental health score of zero to four. A dental score of zero means there is no tarter, calculus or gum inflammation. This is typically a dog or cat less than three years of age but we do see 5-10 year old dogs and cats who qualify for a score of zero. Usually, it is because the pet owners are brushing their pet’s teeth or the pets are being fed a special diet which helps to keep the teeth clean. A dental score of one or two indicates some degree of gum inflammation/infection and it is time for dental cleaning. A score of three indicates infection and bone loss and may lead to level four which is assigned to teeth which need extraction. Of course the goal is to never reach the level of dental score three or four.
The veterinarians and staff of Kissimmee Animal Hospital (Tel 407-846-3912) and Poinciana Pet Clinic (Tel 407-518-0880) are available to answer any questions you may have about pet dental health and our complimentary dental examinations. We are here to help and to serve.