February is Pet Dental Health Month
The importance of animal dental care is often overlooked. More than 80% of animals suffer from some degree of dental disease, also known as periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is infection and inflammation of the gums and bone that support the teeth. Similar to the tip of an iceberg, there is much more to dental disease than just the visual appearance of the tooth. Most dental disease occurs below the gumline, where you can’t see it.
1. Dental disease can really hurt, but not all animals act like they’re uncomfortable. Some pets may reduce their food intake or even stop eating, while others eat like champs despite the oral discomfort.
2. Preventative care is the best way to support our pets’ teeth and gums. Home dental care is essential. Tooth brushing and preventative chews can slow down the advancement of dental disease. Click here for a tooth brushing how-to, and here for links to pet dental treats and chews that are accepted by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC).
3. Regarding chewing items, Kongs and other rubber items that have some “give” under pressure are best. Bones are too hard, and so are plastic items and other firm surfaces often sold at pet stores. If the item is too hard, the tooth will break under pressure, instead of the chewing item. We too often need to extract teeth that have been broken in this way. For heavy chewers, always keep an eye on them so that they don’t swallow pieces of the object they’re chewing on.
4. Regular routine veterinary cleanings under general anesthesia are essential. We call this a “COHAT”—a complete oral health assessment and treatment. Under general anesthesia, we can fully evaluate the integrity of your pet’s teeth, clean them, and extract any diseased teeth. Occasionally we will recommend an appointment with a board-certified veterinary dentist, specifically if the tooth would benefit from a root canal or if the level of dental disease is complicated and requires extensive anesthesia.
5. Please don’t hold off on dental cleaning/COHAT until your pet is obviously uncomfortable. The goal of COHAT is to preserve the teeth, not to wait and have to extract all the teeth at once. This will keep your animal’s mouth feeling its best and reduce the overall cost of dental care.
Our veterinary team can help guide you through the steps of determining if a professional dental cleaning and oral health assessment under general anesthetic is indicated and advised. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask us about dental care for your pet.
Could Your Pet be in Pain?
Animals feel pain in much the same way that humans do, and it is our responsibility as pet owners to understand animal pain so that we can provide proper care for our beloved furry friends.
Assessing pain in animals isn’t easy because our pets can’t talk. But they can demonstrate pain or discomfort in other ways. The most common sign of pain in animals is a decrease in activity level. If your pet usually loves to run around and play, but suddenly seems lethargic and unwilling to move, this could be an indication that they are in pain. Other telltale signs include restlessness, changes in grooming habits, panting or rapid breathing, licking an affected area excessively, difficulty standing up or walking, and vocalizing more than usual.
Isolating where the pain is coming from is one of the first steps in being able to treat it. Observe your animal: Does the pain appear to be coming from the joints, the back, the mouth? Or could there be abdominal pain? If you don’t know, don’t worry. Your veterinarian will ask you specific questions at the time of your visit and perform a hands-on exam to help pinpoint the problem.
If the issue can be fixed through medications or surgery or dentistry, this will be discussed. For the chronic pain situations we see with arthritis, vets have various options. Bloodwork is often used to ensure that certain medications are safe for administration to your animal.
New medications are constantly being developed to help our furry companions. Historically, there were more pain medication options for dogs than there were for cats. However, there are now some newer medications for cats, and most are relatively low-stress to administer. We all know how difficult it can be to medicate cats!
It’s important to remember that animals aren’t able to communicate their pain in the same way that humans do, so it’s up to us as pet owners to recognize signs of discomfort and take action right away. If you suspect your pet is in pain, don’t hesitate to bring them into the veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment. With vigilance and prompt care, we can ensure that our pets remain healthy.
Our lobby is now open for anyone not experiencing respiratory symptoms. If you or your pet are coughing, sneezing, have nasal discharge, or other cold, flu, or COVID-like symptoms, please call or text us at 510-523-1626 (option 1 if calling) to let us know you are here for your appointment and we will assist you curbside. Be sure to include your first name, last name, and your pet’s name. Everyone else is welcome to come inside and we will be with you as soon as we can.
Exams & Non-Urgent Questions
To schedule a non-urgent appointment, please text us or use the website widget to request an appointment. IF YOUR PET IS HAVING AN URGENT MEDICAL ISSUE, PLEASE CALL US AND CHOOSE OPTION 2 FOR CUSTOMER SERVICE.
We require 24-hour notice to cancel or reschedule an appointment to ensure we are able to provide care for as many patients as possible. If less than 24 hours is provided, there may be a late cancellation/no-show fee, even if we reschedule the appointment. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation.
New clients are required to pay a deposit for the first exam for each pet. If less than 24-hour notice is given to cancel or reschedule the first visit, the deposit will be waived. If more than 24-hour notice is received, the deposit will be applied to the first exam.
Prescription food and medication refills may be called in or texted to 510-523-1626 (option 3 if calling), or ordered via the website widget. Please allow at least 2 business days to process refills. If the medication or food is a special order, we will let you know when it is available for pick up. If the prescription is from another pharmacy, including online, please let us know and allow a week to process since we need to get doctor approval. We appreciate your patience.
For the very latest information on COVID-19, you can check these sites:
If you need veterinary care for birds, reptiles, or small mammals, click here for Dr. Granzow’s list of local exotic vets.
Monday – Friday:
8:00 am – 6:00 pm
Our reception area will be closed daily from 12:30 – 2:00 pm for training and lunch breaks.
Your Pet Portal
You can click on the link below to log into your Pet Portal account and check upcoming appointments, schedule new appointments, check the due dates of your pet’s vaccines, request prescription refills, and request boarding reservations for your pet.
If you don’t have an account yet, you can also click on the link to sign up.
Otto Pet Portal Login