My experience providing hospice services in my mobile practice has helped me think differently about the care a pet gets years before.
For example, while we are cautious about anesthesia in older dogs and cats and may be tempted to put off a teeth cleaning in a senior pet, the truth is - bad teeth only get worse!
At the end-of-life stage, many of my dog and cat patients have such severe pain in their mouths that it affects their ability to eat. Often this is simply because dental procedures were avoided several years earlier.
It's should be no surprise that tartar, gingivitis, loose teeth or other tooth lesions that are there today will only be more severe in several years. You also run the risk that a tooth may get severely infected and form an abscess. Now your geriatric pet needs emergency oral surgery to clean out the infection.
If you have a healthy senior pet, talk to your veterinarian about his or her oral health. It could mean happier golden years!
Mary Craig, DVM, MBA
Dr Craig is a mobile veterinarian with a house call practice focused on end-of-life care.