Saturday, 29 August 2015

Summer Time and Buster's operation.

It's been a busy summer for the family and our dogs spent travelling around both the UK and parts of Spain. 

We've also had some great adventures in the Somerset Countryside and recently spent long lazy days down little deserted lanes collecting Blackberries while the dogs investigate hedges and later inevitably baking crumbles, pies and making jam (and picking twigs and grit out of the dogs coats).

At the regular Vet check up during the summer break Buster was found to have some problems with a cracked back tooth that had become infected. He had some topical treatment some antibiotics and a change of diet to see if the tooth and those affected could be saved.

Unfortunately that has not been the case and on Friday 4th September Buster goes into the Vet's for an operation to remove the damaged tooth and the others that have now become infected. This means a general anaesthetic and he will be hooked up to a drip while he is unconscious to make sure his blood pressure remains stable. Because of his age he will also have several blood tests taken to make sure that the correct anaesthetic and amount is used. 

He is a fit and happy dog in every other respect so we are all hopeful of a positive outcome.

During conversations with my Vet about Buster she said that one of the biggest causes of poor health (and even death) in dogs was unhealthy teeth and gums. If left unchecked infected gums and teeth will gradually release fluid (pus which is really the dogs white blood cells fighting the infection mixed up with the infected material). This fluid is swallowed and over time damages the dogs internal organs; mainly the kidneys and liver which can lead to eventual failure of these internal organs and of course death.

We have always fed our dogs on quality dry food that keeps their teeth clean and once or twice a week given them teeth cleaning chews and the odd bone and leather chews. When I clip their nails every other week I always check their teeth but I missed Busters cracked back tooth until the Vet showed me how and where to look. It was probably a bone treat that cracked the tooth but we don't really know how it happened. 

With Border Terriers their teeth go much further back than the mouth opens and I had been missing the very back teeth deep in the mouth. So if you're not checking these already I recommend you begin now.

Hold your dog with your left hand over the top of your dogs snout and place your thumb between both the top row and bottom row of teeth, then gently with the forefinger and middle finger of your right hand fold out and over the fleshy gum flaps along the upper row of teeth. Do this gently but firmly. Then do the same with the bottom row of teeth. Look carefully. I do it outside in the morning as the light is more even.

If you see a lot of Tartar and plaque (hard yellow coating) around the back teeth book in with your Vet for a dental clean up. Next make sure that you touch each tooth and see if there's any movement; if there is, it's a sure sign of infection and needs to be seen by your Vet.

Also if the gums look red or are a dark pink or there is evidence of blood around the teeth please take your dog to the Vet as this is a sign of gum infection. It's more dangerous than I thought so please make sure it's treated as soon as you can.

I now do this rigorous mouth check every other week and have taken to brushing their teeth (which did not go down well to start with). Another indicator of poor gum and teeth health is a runny eye or an eye that has a discharge. 

I'll let you know how Busters operation goes next week.

Have a great day and enjoy life with your dogs.