Look in your pet’s mouth once in a while.

Tooth broke cat(2) "So, how long has that tooth been broken?"  Replies range from "Huh?" to "I didn't know he had a broken tooth." to "A long time.  I don't think it bothers him."   I must confess that I don't have the moral high ground, here.  I pet the dog, I feed the dog, I don't give the dog a thorough physical exam every day.  With a cat, most people are even less likely to do so, given a cat's serious consideration of his own dignity and right to privacy.  Tom (pictured here) came in for an unrelated problem, but stayed to get this painful problem handled.

Sadie (2) Most people who don't think it bothers the animal just haven't given it much thought.  This is Sadie, and she was just in for her normal checkup.  Her owner hadn't noticed much of anything bothering her.  She answered in the negative to the standard yearly physical exam catch-all question, "Are there any problems you've noticed or been concerned about?"

Broken 203 (2) Here's the first thing I noticed in her mouth.  Mom hadn't seen it, and it is obviously not "fresh".  "Have you noticed her having any trouble eating?  Favoring one side?"  Nope, haven't noticed.  Once again, I don't get to keep the oral moral high ground, because, having found this broken tooth and convinced the owner we need to take care of it, I wasn't as careful in the rest of my examination.  Hey, we'll catch anything else when we anesthetize the dog to extract this tooth and clean the rest.

Holey tooth (2) This is what I found when I cleaned the teeth.  This tooth was the only tooth in the mouth that was covered with tartar, but I didn't pay much attention to that during the original exam.  Why is that one tooth covered with tartar?  Because she doesn't chew anything with it, that's why.  When the tartar came off, the pulp chamber immediately began to bleed where the side of the tooth had been fractured off.  How long ago?   Long enough to crust over with tartar. 

Interestingly, when I called the owner to give her the news, she told me she had been watching Sadie since we found that little broken tooth in front.  Sure enough, she only chews on her left side (not this one), and really, she doesn't show much interest in chew-bones anymore. 

After getting these painful situations handled, I have high hopes that Sadie will be chewing normally again.  Note to self:  look in dog's mouth tonight.

2 thoughts on “Look in your pet’s mouth once in a while.

  1. Sheila says:

    At your suggestion, I did do a mouth inventory on our crew. I found that Jack indeed has a loose tooth. (Yes, this is the same Jack we took home from Cardwell as a stray in the mid-1990s. He’s old now, but still a fun sweet spirit.)He has not complained, and still eats all the food in his bowl, but of course, it is probably uncomfortable. I apologized to him for not looking sooner. We are off to the dentist tomorrow morning. Thanks for the reminder.

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