Pet Dental Care FAQs
You brush your teeth and get them cleaned, so why not your pet as well?
Oral health and routine dental checkups are extremely important for our pets, especially since their lifespan is shorter than ours. Pets that receive proper dental care live an average of two to four years longer than those with untreated dental disease, and 85% of dogs at least 4 years of age have some form of dental disease
Like people, animals can suffer from gingivitis and periodontal disease – the most common disease in dogs and cats. If left untreated, these problems can cause pain and lead to systemic infections affecting other organs like the liver, kidneys, and heart.
Bad breath is usually the first sign of dental disease, but it can often be the tip of the iceberg with hidden underlying periodontal disease. There can also be a large quantity of tartar (yellowish substance made up of different salts) and calculus (hardened tartar) already present on the teeth. For this reason, it is very important to ask your veterinarian about your pet’s teeth at each visit to see if a cleaning might be necessary.
Why Do Pets Need Annual Exams?
The annual exam is a preventive physical check-up for your pet. It's an important part of any wellness program because it gives us a chance to examine your pet and catch health issues before they become more serious.
When frequently diagnosed problems such as dental disease, obesity, kidney disease and hypothyroidism are caught early, treatment will be more effective. The annual check-up ensures you're giving your pet the best opportunity for a healthy, happy life.
Pet Behavior & Training
Ain't misbehavin'... or are they?
As "people-like" as pets can be, they're not human. And as intelligent as they are, they don't speak the same language, nor do they problem solve the way you do. It's extremely important – for your pet's well-being as well as your own – that you communicate to them what the family "rules" are.
Kittens can be easily conditioned not to jump on tables and counters. Early and consistent obedience training for dogs, or a firm "no" with a cat, can establish an understanding between you and your pet to avoid future problems.
Lyme Disease Update for Dog Owners
Over the past year there has been a dramatic rise in the incidence of Lyme disease in dogs in the Massachusetts area. This serious disease is not known to infect cats and is transmitted by the small deer tick. We are now offering an improved Lyme vaccine for your dog.
At Ashland Animal Hospital, we have observed at least a 4 to 5 fold increase in Lyme disease this past year. We have found that approximately 50% of dogs in our area are positive on an antibody test for Lyme disease. Although most symptomatic dogs respond well to a course of antibiotic therapy, a small number of dogs can develop a more serious form of the disease.
Ticks , Fleas and Worms – Oh My!
Parasites are organisms that live in or on your pet and feed off of your pet's own nutritional supply.
- External Parasites (such as fleas, ticks and mites) live on or in the skin.
- Internal Parasites (often referred to as "worms") live in the intestinal tract or other body organ. A fecal test can identify a large number of the internal parasites we commonly see.
There are many safe and effective products to prevent and treat parasites, which our staff can discuss with you during your visit.