Preventative Dental Care

Teeth are fascinating. They’re unlike anything else in the body, and they go through a lot every day. Without them we wouldn’t be able to eat, and our pets wouldn’t be the animals we love. What’s a dog who isn’t keen on their supper? What’s a cat who can’t catch a mouse? What’s a rabbit who can’t eat hay all day long? But your pets’ teeth need looking after just as much as the rest of your pet does.

So how do you go about checking over your pet and looking after their teeth? The first thing is to get familiar with your pets mouth, but only if they are amenable to it. Start by getting them used to your hands being near their mouth. If they’re fine with this, gently lift their upper lip to get a good view of their teeth. Slide your fingers back as you lift the lips- you need to have a good look at those teeth at the back there, too.

Healthy teeth are milk white, with no coloured patches. The gums should be an even salmon pink (although they may be coloured black in some dogs- this is normal). The teeth should sit firmly in their sockets. If you notice a bad smell, any colouring on the teeth, loose teeth, teeth that are worn, or red or bleeding gums then it’s probably worth booking a dental check up- we’ll check your pet over and make sure they’re healthy, and suggest treatment if they aren’t. If your pet will not allow anybody else to look in his or her mouth or needs to wear a muzzle whilst at the vets, try to take a clear photograph of the problem area and bring it along to your appointment.

Do you brush your pets teeth? No? Tooth brushing is the number one way to prevent plaque and tartar build up. After all, if it’s good enough for us, surely it’s good for our pets too? Although twice daily brushing is ideal, any level of tooth brushing is going to give your pet some protection. The key is to build up to it slowly, getting them used to the process, and to reward them for allowing it. Special toothpastes should be used- partly as they have lower levels of fluoride so are safer, and partly because they are flavoured with fish or chicken to help your pet enjoy the process. Most pet toothpastes are enzymatic, meaning that just getting them on the teeth will help. Cats can have the toothpaste applied to their foot so that they spread it over their teeth and gums while licking it off. Our nurses can explain how to train your dog- or even your cat- to allow tooth brushing and give you some top tips on getting to those hard-to-reach areas.

Despite twice daily tooth brushing, we humans visit our dentists regularly and have a scale and polish to get the bits we’ve missed. This is even more important for your pet as it’s that much harder to brush the teeth and you’re very likely to be missing bits. Scaling the tartar from the teeth is a very important part of preventative care and if your pet is otherwise healthy your pet may still need an annual scale a polish under general anaesthetic at the practice. Just give us a call to arrange.

Of course, we recognise that not all pets will allow tooth brushing, and not all pets can have general anaesthetics on a regular basis. There are other tooth care options available for these harder-to-help animals. Dental diets can be very effective- these are designed to break in such a way as to clean the teeth while being eaten. Some of the dental chews are excellent too, but remember that they can carry a lot of calories- you’ll need to take this into account and reduce your dogs daily allowance accordingly. Some rubber toys are designed to clean the teeth when chewed- just apply liver paste or peanut butter to the toy and let the dogs clean their own teeth! Powders are available to sprinkle on your pets food, and pet-safe mouthwash can be put into the drinking water- these approaches do not have much evidence that they help, but they’re probably better than doing nothing if your pet refuses to allow any other intervention.

Prevention is far better than cure, and dental conditions can be painful and expensive to treat. Regular check ups and home care are key to avoiding dental problems and to treating problems that do occur as early as possible. Our nurses and vets want your pet to be happy and healthy, so if you aren’t sure how best to help your pet, just call the team or pop in to speak to reception.

Pet Insurance – What’s the difference?

We often get asked about pet insurance, and as vets we would advise that all pets are insured. Insurance allows us to undertake investigations and treatment without having to balance cost against your pet’s health and happiness. It means that we can get them the very best treatments available and do whatever is necessary to get your pets well again.

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ISFM Cat Friendly – What Does it Mean?

We are very excited to let you know that our practice has recently been awarded ‘Cat Friendly Clinic’ Silver accreditation from ‘The International Society of Feline Medicine’ (ISFM). This means that our team consider your cat’s well being and comfort during their visit as one of our main priorities and we have lots of things in place to ensure it can be as stress-free as possible for them. Read on to find out exactly what this means for you and your feline friends.

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Myiasis – what is it and how does it happen?

There’s nothing quite like the sound of maggots chewing through living flesh. Even the thought is enough to make anybody shudder, but it’s something that we as vets have to deal with this time of year.  Read more

Lungworm – what is it and how to prevent it?

 We are all aware by now that Lungworm is something we want to protect our pets from. But what exactly is it and how can we be sure we are preventing our pet from contracting this parasite?

There are a range of different lungworms in the UK, however it is the Dog Lungworm that is the most dangerous, and that’s the one we’ll be talking about in this blog.

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Ambers Spay Day: A Case Story

Amber is a beautiful young yellow Labrador; a true family pet whose name her family were just a touch indecisive about; she spent some time as “Ginger” (the grandchildren’s favourite) and then as “Tess”. With her name now firmly secured as Amber, two of her favourite pastimes are playing with her owners’ grandchildren (probably owing to her “lively personality”), and of course, treats! In fact this girl is a true, food oriented Labrador whose paws have even been known to frequent the kitchen worktops! Despite this, her owners feel that she “…is no real trouble, a very loving character with great recall”.

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Parasite Prevention – Spring Update

Spring is here meaning longer and warm days across the UK, but especially here in Cornwall. As the flowers and wildlife are starting to emerge from their winter hiding places, unfortunately so are the parasites. In the UK, pets are particularly at risk from flea infestation and tick bites as we head into spring. The side effects from these parasites can be unpleasant for both you and your pets, so the best solution is prevention and we are going to help you learn how in this article.

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Alabama Rot – a real risk?

The term Alabama rot has appeared a lot in the news and on social media in recent years. Given the deadly nature of the disease it has understandably scared a lot of dog owners, especially as initially UK vets had no idea what it was. Over the last few years research has provided us with more information to understand the disease, allowing us to recognise the signs earlier and hopefully help us be more successful in treating it.

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Dog survives freak accident with emergency care from Monument Vets

Our vets have seen most types of injury in their time, but Sandi’s was a first even for them.

Sandi is one of our patients, she’s a 5-year-old border collie and has been part of the Monument family since she was a nine week old pup.

What happened?

Sandi is a tennis ball mad collie, who loves playing with her ball, “She is very intelligent dog but this was not one of her better moments!” said Mrs Fee

Mrs Fee had been doing some knitting before going outside “Sandi must have gone indoors, and I heard some whimpering, so went inside. She seemed to be a bit distressed, so I started to stroke her, when I felt something in her fur between her two back legs. I couldn’t comprehend what it was for a moment, but then realised she had one of my knitting needles stuck in her. She must have jumped up and landed on it. I just went cold.”

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 Why weight management can make our pet live longer

Happy New Year! Are you a resolution person? New year new you? Or do you just keep living life despite the change of date? For most of us, losing the Christmas weight is often nearing the top of our priority list. Resolution maker or not, you should give serious thought to getting those extra pounds off your furry friends this new year. 

So, the real question is, does it matter if my pet is overweight? The short answer is yes. Studies have shown that dogs of a healthy weight (not overweight) live longer on average. But it isn’t just length of life that is important, it is also quality. Animals of a healthy weight have more energy and can be much more active.  Read more