August is Pet Dental Month!

Well yes, August IS nearly over but I wanted to give you the chance to drop in and visit the Zillmere Tooth Fairies before we hang up our wings.

Pet dentistry is a real passion of mine, it is so incredibly satisfying to see how much happier and healthier pets are after their dental disease is treated. A common response from clients is “He is just like a puppy again”. Because animals are so adept at hiding signs of pain, we tend to seriously underestimate just how much they are suffering when they have bad teeth.

We now know that;

  • over 85% of adult pets have periodontal disease.
  • periodontal disease causes damage to the kidneys, heart and liver.
  • animals with periodontal disease have increased levels of C reactive protein (which is a marker for inflamation in the body), and these levels decrease after dental treatment.
  • dental disease in humans is linked to heart disease, adverse pregnancy outcomes, diabetes, stroke, respiratory disease and neurodegenerative disease.
  • dental disease is PAINFUL!
  • dental disease causes BAD BREATH.

We are proud that we are one of the few veterinary practices in Brisbane with a digital dental x-ray machine. This allows us to find disease BENEATH the gumline. Dental x-rays are standard in human dentlisty, and now your pet can access that same level of care. I have been truly horrified at how much significant disease there can be lurking beneath the surface! In these x-rays  you can see the areas where infection has caused abscess formation around the roots of the tooth – very painful!

Yellow circles around tooth root abscesses!

Unfortunately, this tooth is past saving and all we can do is an extraction. At Zillmere we are all about preventative healthcare, so flip the lip and have a look at your pet’s teeth (especially way down the back). If the teeth have brown stuff on them, drop in for a free dental check. With regular cleaning and home care we can stop periodontal disease before it becomes irreversible like this poor baby.

So what can you do to help? First look at your pet’s diet, human food and table scraps tend to stick to the teeth and encourage plaque formation. Most premium quality diets have oral care elements and the Hills T/D diet is proven to reduce plaque by 30%. Daily brushing is really the gold standard for preventative home care. There is too much fluoride in human toothpaste so you need to use proper pet toothpaste – available in the delicious flavours of beef, chicken or cheese! Stay tuned for our you-tube video (still in production) on toothbrushing cats and dogs or come in and have one of our super-nurses demonstrate.

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Hello world!

Well, maybe not the WHOLE world, but at least hello Zillmere and environs.

Much to my surprise, I have decided to start a blog. Those of you who know how technologically inept I am may laugh (yes, that means you Dirk), however I will try and keep my musings relevant and entertaining. Ah, who am I kidding, I will be happy if I can just get it on the web!

This foray into the world of internet blogging was triggered by a lecture I attended recently at the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) annual conference in San Diego.  My main purpose in attending was to support my husband, Dr Tom Catanzaro, as he was named the 2012 Leo Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year.  This is one of the most prestigous honours our profession can bestow and I am very proud of him. Of course while I was at the conference I took the opportunity to attend some first class continuing education lectures.

Even though I graduated from vet school 29 years ago (wow, I am soooo old), knowledge in our profession increases exponentially every year. One of the things I love about being a vet is that there is always something new to learn. Because of my dedication to continuing education, I have qualified as a Chartered Member of the AVA (Australian Veterinary Association). The qualification is awarded to vets who do serious and continuing post-graduate education and ensures we keep up to date with latest the advancements in the veterinary world.

Glad we don’t need one of these!

While I was in San Diego I visited a local practice. I was a little shocked (pun intended) to see this next to their first aid kit.

  I was also lucky enough to attend my very first baseball game.

It was a lot of fun and I was introduced to some interesting baseball rituals including the tailgate party, crackerjacks, 24 oz cans of beer,strange mascots (San Diegos mascott is the “Swinging Friar”) and the 7th innings stretch where you all stand up and sing “Take me out to the ball game”. 

No trip to San Diego is complete without a trip to the Safari Park, which is a beautiful open plan zoo with one of the best best records for breeding endangered species in the world. Their biggest success stories are probably re-establishing condors in the wild and breeding the white rhino.

Me bathing the rhino 🙂

Currentely, I am in NSW where I will speak to a group of Newcastle veterinarians about general practice dentistry and will be back in the practice this Saturday.

If this one works – I will aim for a weekly blog entry so fingers crossed 🙂