The Important, Almighty Teeth!

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Time and again in the exam room we are asked if a particular teeth cleaning chew is appropriate for dogs.  Clients describe anything from bones, to particular products marketed exclusively for teeth to other chew toys commonly found in pet stores.  There are too many products out there to be familiar with all, but we can offer some helpful hints in order to choose safe options for your pets.  Careful selection of appropriate chews is very important to your pet’s oral health, not just for the purpose of cleaning their teeth, but to not cause damage to your pet’s teeth as well.  When dog’s chew a chew toy, they do so with great strength using the large 4th premolar, also known as the Carnassial tooth.  It is the largest tooth in their mouths and is the main tooth used for chewing and grinding up food.  Dogs that chew hard chews may fracture the exterior part of the tooth.  This is called a slab fracture.  This type of fracture exposes the sensitive “pulp chamber” inside the tooth which contains the blood vessel and nerve.  It is a painful lesion and places the tooth at high risk for abscess/infection.
slab fx
X rays of the tooth are required to determine if the pulp chamber is exposed, giving bacteria access to the root and other sensitive structures of the tooth and to ensure that surrounding teeth have not been damaged as well.  Treatment options include a root canal if the tooth meets criteria or surgical extraction of the tooth.  This tooth contains 3 roots which extend deeply into the jaw bone.  It is a painful lesion and requires extraction.  Dental fractures caused by hard chews are one of the most common reasons for extractions in dogs.
Obviously we want to try to avoid these injuries and extractions at all costs.  Although most people feel hard chews will help clean their pets teeth, they will likely fracture them as well. The Veterinary Oral Health Care Specialists (VOHC) is a group of board certified veterinary dental specialists.  They have a “kneecap” rule.  If you wouldn’t want to be hit in the kneecap by a chew you are contemplating giving your dog, then it is too hard and should not be given to them, as it can fracture their teeth.  Bones, antlers and other synthetic hard chews are good examples of this. CET chews are a good example of a safe chew.  You can look for the VOHC seal on any dental product to see if they have approved it as a safe and effective part of your pets health care routine.
If you have any questions regarding safe chew toys or fractured teeth please call or make an appointment to speak to one of our veterinarians or veterinary technicians.  Happy chewing!

What is The Farley Foundation?

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The Farley Foundation was established in 2001 by the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA) to help low income pet owners by subsidizing the cost of urgent veterinary care. The foundation relies on donations to provide funding for those in need.

Donations to the Farley Foundation are made by the veterinary community and generous pet owners. The OVMA and veterinary clinics team together to educate and promote awareness to pet owners on the Farley Foundation and how their involvement can help owners in need. Funding from the Farley Foundation is only distributed in Ontario, but sees donations from all over North America.

The Farley Foundation reviews their eligibility criteria annually and to be able to provide the most funding available to the greatest number of people in need.

The Farley Foundation has helped over 7200 pet owners and pets since its funding was available in 2002. They have helped a variety of pets from cats and dog to ferrets and guinea pigs. Helping with diagnostics, surgery, hospitalization and necessary medications.

With the OVMA heading up this foundation and corporate sponsors supporting fundraising, they are able to keep costs very low allowing the majority of the donations to be used towards pets and pet owners in need. Over 75% of donations have been allocated to be used towards veterinary care for pets.

You can help support the Farley Foundation by donating anytime through the Farley Foundation website, or by participating in any of their ongoing fundraising event.  October is Fundraise for Farley Month, you can come in and support Farley by donating to the registered charity and have paw prints displayed with your support. In October of 2015 Farley raised over $260,000 with dedicated partnerships between veterinary health care teams and support of their corporate partner Royal Canin.

For the entire month of October we will be accepting donations towards Farley. We will be holding a bake sale October 29th and 30th, and for a donation your pet can take part in Halloween photo shoot on October 30th ! All proceeds will go to the Farley Foundation.

Come join us in our efforts to help support low income pet owners and pets with urgent medical care needs!