Meet Little Bear, a sweet and cuddly 15-year old Pomeranian with severe periodontal disease. Although he is an older dog and has a severe heart murmur (which was assessed by the cardiologist and he was cleared for anesthesia), Little Bear was a champ for his procedure and did great! Like many smaller breeds with complicating factors such as his advanced age and heart disease, the health of his teeth had deteriorated. On initial examination, many of his teeth were mobile with root exposure and had evidence of significant infection (heavy tartar, plaque and halitosis). Under anesthesia, x-rays showed significant bone loss surrounding the infected teeth and several missing teeth due to the periodontal disease. All of his remaining teeth were extracted. During his recheck 1 month later, Little Bear had healed well, is currently eating well, and feeling great.
Oral health is important in all of our pets, especially those who are older. As they get older, other health issues may take priority or scare us from pursuing anesthesia. Dr. Brigden often says “age is not a disease” and by approaching anesthesia cautiously and with a thorough pre-anesthetic workup, we can successfully treat severe oral disease in our older patients.