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Wauchope Veterinary Clinic
59 High St
Wauchope, NSW, 2446
Phone: 02 6585 1626
Dental Checkups - why they are important

Dog and cat dentals are two of the most common anaesthetic and surgical procedures performed here at Wauchope Vets.

During a consultation our Vets evaluate what type of dental and periodontal problems may be present and formulate a plan to try and fix the issues.  Like many diseases, early intervention is far better for your pet’s health and is more cost effective.

Check your pet’s teeth regularly and look for signs of dental diseases such as red gum lines (gingivitis), calculus/tartar build-up, excessive salivation or smelly breath (halitosis). If you notice any of these signs then please contact us on (02) 6585 1626 and book an appointment, so one of our Vets can evaluate your pet’s mouth and advise you of the best treatment option.

Anaesthesia is essential for clean teeth

You may have seen anaesthesia-free dentistry advertised and wondered why we don't offer this as an option for your pet.

We'd love to be able to say "open wide," but this isn't possible in the veterinary dental world! Without an anaesthetic, it is impossible to perform a thorough examination of your pet's mouth and there is simply no way we can correctly diagnose or treat dental problems while your pet is awake.

Any dental procedure done without an anaesthetic, can have a negative psychological impact on your pet, as it is likely to cause your pet unnecessary pain.

The worst thing is, anaesthesia-free dentistry can potentially mask serious underlying disease and lead to complications in the future.

When a pet is anaesthetised, we are able to look for any hidden problems and potential sources of pain.  Radiographs can be taken and the teeth can be safely probed with special dental instruments, a critical part of a dental procedure.

While your pet is asleep, we thoroughly clean their teeth including the area under the gums. It is essential to understand that this cannot be done correctly, if your pet is awake. Removing only the calculus that is visible on the tooth (as done in anaesthesia-free dentistry) is purely cosmetic. This technique is ineffective because it does not fix the source of the problem or enable healing and reversal of the dental disease.

You can read more about why anaesthesia-free dentistry is not appropriate for your pet on the Australian Veterinary Association website.

If you have any questions about your pet's dental health, just ask us - we are always here to help.

Rocky's tooth problem

Meet Rocky the cat. Rocky loves spending his days on the couch, waiting for his humans to arrive home and feed him his dinner. We will be following Rocky's health journey over the next few months and today we'd like to fill you in on his visit to the dentist. 

Rocky recently had a dental procedure performed under general anaesthesia to clean his teeth. At the time it was discovered that one of Rocky's teeth had a specific problem known as a feline resorptive lesions (FRL). Up to 60% of cats may suffer from this painful condition by the time they are 6-years old. 

What is a FRL and what causes them?
In a FRL, the tooth is eaten away, leading to exposure of the sensitive pulp of the tooth. They used to be referred to as 'feline cavities,' but this is not really an accurate description, as they are not caused by the presence of plaque and tartar or from eating too many lollies!

The cause of FRLs is still unknown. There are several theories about what causes resorption of the tooth, but none of these theories have been conclusive.

How are they diagnosed?
FRL are sometimes visible as a little red spot on the tooth and are sensitive to touch. There may also be erosion of the crown of the tooth. In some cases, there are no visible changes to the tooth and the only way to detect a FRL is to perform and look for changes on dental radiographs. 

Why is extraction necessary and what about ongoing care?
FRLs will progress and continue to be painful if they are not extracted. They can cause a cat considerable pain and cause reduced appetite and lethargy.  Most cats with one FRL will develop other FRLs in the future, so regular dental check-ups, dental cleans under anaesthetic and dental radiographs are important in these cats.

We are pleased to say that Rocky's painful tooth was extracted and he is making an excellent recovery. He will need regular dental check-ups in the future to make sure he doesn't get any more FRLs, but for now he is snuggled up on the couch again waiting for his dinner!

If your pet hasn't had a dental check-up for a while, you should call us on (02) 6585 1626 and arrange an appointment, so we can rule out any issues.  

How do I know if my pet needs to see the dentist?

If your pet has stinky breath, it's important to realise that this is not normal.

Don’t be tempted to simply turn your head away, as bad breath can be a sign that your pet is suffering from dental disease, a sneaky condition that likes to creep up on your pet.

As the disease progresses, plaque and tartar build up around the teeth, leading to an inflammatory condition called gingivitis. Eventually the gum separates from the tooth and small pockets of bacteria accumulate.

You should not ignore this disease. It is painful and can impact the overall health of your pet, as the bacteria enter the bloodstream and make their way around your pet's body.

Signs of dental disease include:

- Bad breath

- Redness of the gums

- Drooling from the mouth

- A loss of appetite or weight loss

Sometimes the signs are subtle and you may not notice anything at all. This is why regular check-ups with us are so important, as during any routine examination we will always examine your pet's mouth to rule out the need for further intervention.

If we diagnose dental disease early enough, we can implement a treatment plan and slow the progression of this condition. Your pet will be healthier and you will be able to be kissed by your furry friend without being hit in the face with doggy breath! 

We are always here to answer any questions you might have about your pet's dental health, please contact us on (02) 6585 1626. 

Protect your pet against the flu

Have you ever wondered if your pet can get the flu? The answer is yes.  Unlike the dreaded flu season for humans, dogs and cats can suffer from their version of the flu year-round. The good news is that your pet can not catch the human flu and vice versa. 

The dog version of the flu is known as Canine Cough (often incorrectly referred to as "Kennel Cough".)

Canine Cough is a highly-contagious disease that is passed from dog to dog by moisture droplets. It is possible for your dog to potentially become infected from another dog at the park, not just boarding kennels. Vaccination is simple, effective and given annually. The vaccination protects against the worst strains of the disease (the ones that can cause pneumonia), but it's important to realise that your dog can still contract milder forms of the disease. These dogs may only require a short course of antibiotics to help them recover.

Cat Flu is commonly caused by a herpes virus. It is also highly contagious and can cause severe illness, especially in kittens or elderly cats, or cats with a compromised immune system. Vaccination is highly effective and while it won't always prevent cats from developing the flu, it helps reduce the severity of the condition and reduces shedding of the virus, decreasing the likelihood of transmission to other cats. This vaccination must be given annually.

Ask us to check if your pet is up to date with their vaccinations and we will make sure your pet stays happy and healthy. You can contact us on (02) 6585 1626.

Herman, the diabetic cat

Herman, the diabetic cat....and his incredible journey!

Over the last month we have become very attached and endeared to Herman, a Burmese cat that came to us late one Wednesday afternoon when his owners Ross & Kerry noticed he was not himself.

When he came into the clinic, Herman was depressed, very cold (hypothermic) and very dehydrated. Herman had started drinking a lot more water than usual and urinating a lot more than usual in the previous days, but his owners Kerry & Ross came home to find him depressed, cold and very weak.

Jillian one of our Vets, quickly organized for some blood tests that showed his glucose (sugar) levels were sky high, his liver and pancreas were badly damaged and he had severe fluid and electrolyte imbalances as well as a serious anaemia (thin diluted blood). Jillian immediately ran a couple of more tests (Fructosamine, and Urine analysis) to confirm her suspicions that Herman had Diabetes mellitus (the same type of diabetes humans suffer from), but this had deteriorated and he was now in a Keto-Acidotic state (a Diabetic Crisis, where his body was producing Ketone bodies in a desperate attempt to keep going, but these are quite toxic and damaging). 

Jillian and our nurses started Herman on insulin injections and fluid therapy and kept him in for very close monitoring, as we had to closely monitor his glucose levels, his body temperature, his potassium levels and his degree of dehydration, while at the same time trying to get him feeling well enough to start eating again.

This was the start of quite a long stay in hospital for Herman, as we subsequently found out that he was suffering from pancreatitis and gall bladder obstruction when we did an Ultrasound of him with the help of Shayne Trotter. Herman confused us a bit with his unusual bi-lobed gall bladder and his much enlarged pancreas. On top of this we had to try and correct his severe anaemia with a blood transfusion. Emily (one of our nurses) kindly organized for her cat Maggie to be blood typed and luckily Maggie and Herman were a match!). So we then had to collect blood from Maggie and then slowly transfuse it into Herman and watch he didn’t react to Maggie’s blood cells! Thankfully it went very well and made a big difference to Herman’s progress and treatment.

Jillian and our team of nurses were very dedicated and attentive to Herman and all his medical, nutritional, and social needs! He even had a visit in hospital from his housemate Lilly for a bit of company and moral support!. Slowly but surely Herman started eating again at last (after trialing all sorts of tasty morsels!) and eventually after 6 days in care he was able to go home under strict guidelines and care instructions, which Kerry and Ross undertook with great dedication. The injection and feeding regimes required to manage and control a diabetic cat are not actually difficult as such, but they are onerous and time demanding with twice daily injections 12 hours apart. 

Over the coming weeks Herman has been brighter, but his glucose levels have been frustratingly difficult to control, despite the twice daily injections of insulin and a strict dietary change. So after discussions with Veterinary specialists, Jillian organized to implant a glucose monitor on and under Herman’s skin (this will provide on-going glucose measurements without having to restrain him and use a needle to get a drop of blood from his ear or even his jugular vein!).

This whole process of diagnosing and treating all of Herman’s medical issues has only be successful due to the outstanding dedication, care and attention that Jillian and our nurses have been showering on Herman.  We appreciate  Kerry and Ross’s dedication and faith in our team. Herman is an exceptional cat, who is very lucky to have such loving and attentive owners! It has been a pleasure working with Herman and getting him back home and enjoying life with Kerry, Ross and Lilly!

Have you tried this trick on your dog?

The latest viral sensation on the internet is pet-related. It's called the 'What The Fluff Challenge' with owners pranking their dogs with a 'magic trick' and sharing the results online. Check out the hilarious prank here.