February is National Pet Dental Health Month!

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Dental health is a very important part of your pet’s overall health, and dental problems can cause, or be caused by, other health problems. Your pet’s teeth and gums should be checked at least once a year by your veterinarian to check for early signs of a problem and to keep your pet’s mouth healthy.

What is veterinary dentistry, and who should perform it?

Veterinary dentistry includes the cleaning, adjustment, filing, extraction, or repair of your pets’ teeth and all other aspects of oral health care. These procedures should be performed by a veterinarian or a board-certified veterinary dentist. Subject to state or provincial regulation, veterinary technicians are allowed to perform certain dental procedures under the supervision of a veterinarian.

The process begins with an oral exam of your pet’s mouth by a veterinarian. Radiographs (x-rays) may be needed to evaluate the health of the jaw and the tooth roots below the gumline. Because most dental disease occurs below the gumline, where you can’t see it, a thorough dental cleaning and evaluation are performed under anesthesia. Dental cleaning includes scaling (to remove dental plaque and tartar) and polishing, similar to the process used on your own teeth during your regular dental cleanings.

Oral health in dogs and cats

Test Yourself!

How much do you know about your pet’s dental health? Take this quiz to find out.

Your pet’s teeth should be checked at least once a year by your veterinarian for early signs of a problem and to keep your pet’s mouth healthy.

Have your pet’s teeth checked sooner if you observe any of the following problems:

  • bad breath
  • broken or loose teeth
  • extra teeth or retained baby teeth
  • teeth that are discolored or covered in tartar
  • abnormal chewing, drooling, or dropping food from the mouth
  • reduced appetite or refusal to eat
  • pain in or around the mouth
  • bleeding from the mouth
  • swelling in the areas surrounding the mouth

Some pets become irritable when they have dental problems, and any changes in your pet’s behavior should prompt a visit to your veterinarian. Always be careful when evaluating your pet’s mouth, because a painful animal may bite.

Causes of pet dental problems

Although cavities are less common in pets than in people, they can have many of the same dental problems that people can develop:

  • broken teeth and roots
  • periodontal disease
  • abscesses or infected teeth
  • cysts or tumors in the mouth
  • malocclusion, or misalignment of the teeth and bite
  • broken (fractured) jaw
  • palate defects (such as cleft palate)

Periodontal disease is the most common dental condition in dogs and cats – by the time your pet is 3 years old, he or she will very likely have some early evidence of periodontal disease, which will worsen as your pet grows older if effective preventive measures aren’t taken. Early detection and treatment are critical, because advanced periodontal disease can cause severe problems and pain for your pet. Periodontal disease doesn’t just affect your pet’s mouth. Other health problems found in association with periodontal disease include kidney, liver, and heart muscle changes.

It starts with plaque that hardens into tartar. Tartar above the gumline can often easily be seen and removed, but plaque and tartar below the gumline is damaging and sets the stage for infection and damage to the jawbone and the tissues that connect the tooth to the jaw bone. Periodontal disease is graded on a scale of 0 (normal) to 4 (severe).

The treatment of periodontal disease involves a thorough dental cleaning and x-rays may be needed to determine the severity of the disease. Your veterinarian or a board-certified veterinary dentist will make recommendations based on your pet’s overall health and the health of your pet’s teeth, and provide you with options to consider.

Why does dentistry require anesthesia?

When you go to the dentist, you know that what’s being done is meant to help you and keep your mouth healthy. Your dentist uses techniques to minimize pain and discomfort and can ask you how you are feeling, so you accept the procedures and do your best to keep still. Your pet does not understand the benefit of dental procedures, and he or she reacts by moving, trying to escape, or even biting.

Anesthesia makes it possible to perform the dental procedures with less stress and pain for your pet. In addition, anesthesia allows for a better cleaning because your pet is not moving around and risking injury from the dental equipment. If radiographs (x-rays) are needed, your pet needs to be very still in order to get good images, and this is unlikely without heavy sedation or anesthesia.

Although anesthesia will always have risks, it’s safer now than ever and continues to improve so that the risks are very low and are far outweighed by the benefits. Most pets can go home the same day of the procedure, although they might seem a little groggy for the rest of the day.

What can I do at home for my pet’s oral health?

What about “anesthesia-free” dental cleanings?

The American Veterinary Dental College does not recommend dental cleanings without anesthesia because they do not allow cleaning or inspection below the gumline, where most dental disease occurs, and can result in injury to the pet or the person performing the procedure.

Prevention of the most common oral disease in pets consists of frequent removal of the dental plaque and tartar that forms on teeth that are not kept clean. Regularly brushing your pet’s teeth is the single most effective thing you can do to keep their teeth healthy between dental cleanings, and may reduce the frequency or even eliminate the need for periodic dental cleaning by your veterinarian. Daily brushing is best, but it’s not always possible and brushing several times a week can be effective. Most dogs accept brushing, but cats can be a bit more resistant – patience and training are important.

There are many pet products marketed with claims that they improve dental health, but not all of them are effective. Talk with your veterinarian about any dental products, treats, or dental-specific diets you’re considering for your pet, or ask your veterinarian for their recommendation.

 

SOURCE: https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/Pet-Dental-Care.aspx

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Vaccinating Your Pet

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To protect your pet from contagious diseases, keep his essential vaccinations up-to-date. This is important even if your pet is kept mostly indoors. Many contagious diseases are airborne and your pet could easily be exposed through an open window. There is also always a risk that your pet could accidentally slip out the door. Boarding kennels, dog parks and grooming salons are all areas where your pet is likely to be exposed to contagious diseases so be sure to consult with your veterinarian before taking your pet to any of these places
It is also important to keep in mind that vaccinations take a few days to a few weeks to become effective.

Essential Vaccinations for Your Dog

  • Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza and Parvovirus (DHPP). Commonly called the “distemper shot,” this combination vaccine actually protects against the four diseases in its full name.
  • Rabies. Rabies virus is fatal and all mammals, including humans, are susceptible to infection. Rabies vaccinations for dogs are required by law in most states.

Other Vaccines for Dogs

Your veterinarian may also recommend other vaccines for your dog depending on where you live and your dog’s lifestyle:

  • Leptospirosis. Often included as part of the distemper combination vaccine (making it a DHLPP), this bacterial infection is most prevalent in moist climates where there are areas of standing or slow-moving water. This disease can also be spread from animals to humans.
  • Bordetella (commonly called “kennel cough”).  The bordetella virus causes an extremely contagious upper respiratory infection. Your veterinarian may recommend this vaccine before your dog goes to a dog park, groomer, boarding kennel, doggie daycare or dog show.
  • Lyme Disease. A bacterial infection carried by ticks, this disease is extremely prevalent in certain parts of the country — in particular, the east and west coasts and the areas around the Great Lakes.
  • Canine Influenza. This viral upper respiratory disease originated at a Florida racetrack in 2004 and has quickly spread across the country. Outbreaks are prevalent in animal shelters and boarding kennels.
  • Corona Virus. This virus infects the intestinal tract and is more prevalent in the southern United States.

Essential Vaccines for Your Cat

  • Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus and Panleukopenia (FVRCP). Commonly called the “distemper” shot , this combination vaccine protects against three diseases: feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus and panleukopenia (sometimes called “feline distemper”).
  • Rabies. Rabies virus is fatal and all mammals, including humans, are susceptible to infection. Rabies vaccinations for cats are required by law in most states.

Other Vaccines for Cats

Your veterinarian may also recommend other vaccines for your cat depending on where you live and your cat’s lifestyle:

  • Chlamydia. Chlamydia is a bacterial infection that causes severe conjunctivitis, and the vaccination for it is often included in the distemper combination vaccine (making it an FVRCP-C).
  • Feline Leukemia (Felv). Felv is a viral infection that is only transmitted through close contact, and this vaccine is generally only recommended for cats that go outdoors.
  • Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV). FIV is a viral infection that is only transmitted through close contact, and this vaccine is generally only recommended for cats that go outdoors.
  • Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP). A viral infection most common in catteries and feral colonies, FIP is almost always fatal. Most house cats do not have a significant risk of contracting this disease.
  • Bordetella. This bacteria causes highly contagious upper respiratory infections. Your veterinarian may recommend this vaccine before your cat goes to a boarding kennel or groomer.

SOURCE: http://www.americanhumane.org/animals/adoption-pet-care/caring-for-your-pet/vaccinating-your-pet.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/

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Benefits of a Mobile Vet

Mobile Vet in Portland OR

For some pet owners, bringing a pet to the vet isn’t always convenient or even possible. Some pets—especially cats—dread car rides or being placed in a carrier. Or both. Some pets also get stressed out at the vet when they catch the scent of other animals and other unfamiliar scents of a place that’s not their home. If your pet fits in any of these categories (and even if they don’t), you’ll appreciate the benefits of a mobile veterinary practice like Blue Door Veterinary Services.

 

Blue Door Veterinary Services is a full-service veterinary hospital that serves pet owners of the greater Portland, OR, area. We understand the stress and difficulties that can be associated with bringing a dog or cat to the vet, which is why we’re proud to be able to bring our services to you. Our 26-foot, state-of-the-art mobile clinic is equipped with the necessities to diagnose and treat your pet for whatever ails them and keep them happy and healthy. These services include (but are not limited to):

 

 

We are fully equipped to offer the same service, technology, and equipment as a stationary practice, but we bring that service to your door!  Let us deal with the hassles of Portland traffic for you.  Regardless of your needs for your pet, we are confident that you’ll enjoy Blue Door Veterinary Services, so give us a call at 503-819-8040 to request an appointment or request one online!

 

 

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Mammary Tumors: Kimber’s Story

1Meet Kimber. She is an 11-year-old Great Pyrenees dog who was brought to Blue Door Veterinary Services to have some large lumps on her mammary chains examined. Her owner noticed the first lump about a year ago, which slowly got bigger and bigger. The second lump developed a few months ago and seemed to grow quickly after her last heat cycle in the spring. Both masses were each the size of a cantaloupe when she came to see us.

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Mammary gland tumors are very common in dogs, so Kimber is not alone in her condition. Luckily, about half of mammary tumors are benign, but the only way to know for sure is to remove them for a biopsy. Smaller samples of the tumor may not be enough to determine if it is benign or malignant. If the dog has multiple tumors, they could all be different, so each one should be removed and biopsied separately.

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Because of the size of the tumors, aggressive surgery to remove large parts of her mammary chain around the masses was necessary. We performed two separate surgeries for Kimber, as each mass was so large, it took about 3.5 hours to remove each one. To keep her under anesthesia any longer for each surgery could have been unsafe for her.

Kimber may have been able to avoid these surgeries if she had been spayed when she was younger. Research has shown that spaying dogs before their first or second heat cycle can dramatically reduce their risk of developing mammary gland tumors.

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The prognosis for dogs with benign mammary tumors is good after surgical removal. For dogs with malignant mammary tumors, the prognosis depends on multiple factors: tumor type, size, regional lymph node involvement, presence or absence of metastases in other organs, and completeness of surgical resection are some of the considerations. In general, for any type of cancer, the best prognosis is related to early detection and treatment.

In comparison to our canine companions, cats have a much higher incidence of malignant tumors on the mammary glands. About 85% of mammary lumps in cats are malignant compared to the 50% in dogs. Prognosis for cats with mammary tumors is directly related to the size of the mass and the length of time it has been around, so prompt treatment is of utmost importance.

If you see any lumps anywhere on your pet, call us today to schedule an appointment for us to evaluate the masses and determine the safest and best course of action for your furry family member.

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Kimber recovered after her second surgery – no more huge masses!

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Why Does My Pet Needs Vaccinations?

Whether you’re a new or experienced pet owner, you may have asked yourself if your pet really needs to be vaccinated. The simple answer is YES. Vaccines protect dogs and cats against a number of potentially-fatal diseases, and in many states, certain pet vaccines—such as rabies—are required by law. Even if your pet is an indoor pet, they can still be at risk for certain health conditions if they ever come in contact with another animal.

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Blue Door Veterinary Services’ very own Dr. Meridith Dawson and Teri Quesenberry had the privilege of being the vaccine clinic providers and pet first aid sponsors at the annual Portland Pet Expo in October. We believe preventative care and vaccinations are the first line against illness and disease, and we were excited to be able to help so many pets during the expo. Couldn’t make it to the expo? No problem! Just give us a call to schedule an appointment.

We recommend that all dogs and cats be evaluated and vaccinated according to their lifestyle and risk on a regular basis. For some pets, this is once a year, and for others, it can be more or less often. We base our vaccine recommendations and frequency on your pet’s age, breed, health, and lifestyle, which we can discuss during their next home visit.

How Do Vaccines Work?

 Just as with human vaccines, animal vaccines are designed to protect against diseases by “teaching” the immune system to fight the illness. The vaccine simulates the real disease in the body but without the full symptoms of the disease. This exposure activates the body’s immune system to produce antibodies, which equip the body to fight off the disease-causing organisms. As a result, if a vaccinated pet were to come in contact with the real illness, its immune system would be more prepared to combat it.

Some of the most common vaccines we recommend for dogs include Rabies (required by law), Bordetella (the kennel cough vaccine), Parvovirus, Distemper and Leptospirosis. For cats, the most common vaccines include Rabies, Herpesvirus 1, Calicivirus, Panleukopenia virus, and Leukemia virus (for outdoor cats).

Is Your Pet Due for Their Vaccinations?

If the answer is yes, or if you’re unsure, schedule an appointment by calling 503-819-8040…and for the month of November, your dog or cat can receive a FREE pedicure during the vaccination appointment. Call or book online at www.bluedoorvet.com today!

 

 

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The Benefits of Mobile Veterinary Care from Blue Door Veterinary Services

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Yes, we do house calls. While convenience for both you and your pet is a great benefit, it is far from the only reason that makes Blue Door Veterinary Services the very best option for your companion animal. If you live in the Portland, OR area, chances are we can help you with all your veterinary needs.

Our certified veterinary technician Teri and I will come to your home in a brand-new, state-of-the-art, mobile veterinary clinic, complete with X-ray, blood testing technology, anesthesiology and a surgery suite. We are fully equipped and prepared to perform:

  • Vaccines and preventative care
  • Blood work
  • Diagnostics
  • Professional dental care
  • Surgeries
  • X-rays
  • …and more!

But more importantly, we bring our full attention to your pet’s needs, in a place that is most calming: home. Whether your pet is anxious or travels poorly, or you have difficulty handling your pet or multiple pets for a visit to a traditional veterinary office, mobile care can be perfect for all of you. We’ll spend the time needed to meet your pet, conduct a full evaluation, and develop a plan of care. Should specialized care or longer term treatment be necessary, we can even help with the transportation of your pet to specialty hospitals.

Teri and I look forward to getting to know many Portland people who love their pets as much as we do. We are now scheduling appointments to begin September 14th. Give us a call!

 

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