Pet of the Week!
By Emily Burnie
Diva is a 10 year old, female, Shetland Sheepdog (Sheltie). She was spayed when she was 6 months old, and that’s when her dental trouble started!
At that time she has “retained deciduous canine teeth” meaning her baby canine teeth had not fallen out, but her adult teeth had come in. This is very common, especially in small breed dogs, and we always recommend pulling the baby teeth at the time of spay/neuter if there are doubles; which we did do with Diva.
In 2008 Diva’s owner reported that her teeth where getting dirty and her breath was very smelly. Dr. Steele examined her and agreed that Diva needed a dental cleaning before things got too bad. This cleaning went great, and Diva did not loose any teeth.
Two years later, Diva’s teeth where covered in tartar again, so she had another cleaning, with no teeth removed in Aug of 2010.
By Jan 2013, poor Diva’s teeth where in the worse shape yet. There was a significant amount of tartar build up, and Dr. Sherlock was suspicious that at least one of them looked infected and was draining pus from the gums. Unfortunately for Diva, she had 3 teeth that where infected enough that abscesses where forming at the roots* so these three teeth had to be removed. She also lost 1 little incisor tooth that was very loose.
In Diva’s case, her genetics have predisposed her to having bad teeth – Shelties are known to be prone to dental disease. If her owners had not been so diligent in having her cleanings preformed regularly she would most likely have lost a lot more teeth during this surgery.
*The only successful treatment for tooth root abscesses is removal of the infected tooth. Antibiotics will bring down the infection so it doesn’t hurt as badly, but they will never cure the infection. Specialized veterinary dentists can perform root canals that can sometimes save the tooth, but the cost is high and success rate is low, plus the closest one to Halifax is in Guelph, Ontario!