Dental Disease: Puppies at RiskJohi Kokjohn-Wagner
Most dog owners are aware of the negative and life threatening effects of periodontal, or dental disease. Not only does it cause problems in the oral cavity, dental disease can also damage a dog’s internal organs. Yet most people are unaware of the risk of dental disease in puppies. Naomi Hoyer, a Colorado Veterinarian and Dental Specialist, shared her experience with one afflicted puppy, a Siberian Husky named “Dobby.”
Dobby’s owners brought the puppy to Dr. Hoyer because of an overbite that had been present since birth. The breeder noticed it, but thought the pup might grow out of it. When Dobby turned 12 weeks, his owners were concerned that the damage was permanent. Dobby’s overbite was so severe that his lower canines were penetrating into his palate, thus causing two problems:
1. Pain: Dobby’s sharp puppy teeth were poking into his own gums all day and night.
2. Future deformity: Because puppies spend the majority of their time with their mouth closed, having teeth that are penetrating into the palate may actually prevent the lower jaw from reaching its full potential length.
Dr. Hoyer immediately removed Dobby’s lower baby, or deciduous canine teeth. She plans on addressing his bite with his adult teeth when they erupt.
Dr. Hoyer shared her expertise, “Dental disease doesn’t just happen to older pets. Most people’s idea of dental disease is an old chihuahua with its teeth falling out. But malocclusions or abnormal tooth growth patterns in puppies can cause big problems down the line. With modern dentistry there are so many things that we can do right away to make the pet more comfortable.”
Dr. Hoyer continued with a bit of advice for dog owners, “If you get a puppy, please make sure that your veterinarian is evaluating the dog’s bite. Even if it’s not going to be a show dog, it needs to have a bite that is functional and pain free.”
Proper care of a pet requires knowledgeable owners and experienced veterinarians. Take notice of your dogs dental health. Regular dental care is key to the prevention of dental disease, and your puppies mouth is a great place to start.