œSunny is a middle aged Boxer whose parents were quite alarmed one day to find one side of her face swollen. The swelling was around her eye and cheek area. They knew that Boxers were very prone to cancer, and so took Sunny to their veterinarian immediately. That veterinarian wisely recognized that Sunny had a broken tooth and that the swelling was almost certainly related to a dental infection. Sunny came to Animal Care Clinic because we have a dental x-ray machine and a high interest in dental care. By this time, antibiotics had allowed Sunny ™s swelling to completely resolve. As we worked on Sunny ™s mouth, our routine evaluation did not reveal problems with the teeth in question. By probing more deeply and taking radiographs that are not part of a routine exam, we were able to find the abscess, and thus remove the bad tooth. Additionally, one of our veterinary nurses pointed out an area that seemed abnormal as she cleaned the teeth on the opposite side of Sunny ™s mouth. By using the same unusual radiographic views, we found that this tooth was also abcessed. Removing this tooth prevented a future abscess and relieved Sunny ™s pain.
Animals are not really able to express dental pain (try to tell your friend you have a toothache without pointing or speaking!) It is uncommon for dental pain to be so profound that an animal will stop eating. Maintaining excellent oral health is one of the best ways to prolong your pet ™s life and ensure that he or she feels no pain. We encourage you to bring your pets to Animal Care Clinic for a full dental evaluation – your whole family will benefit.
By Bonnie Markoff, DVM, ABVP