Today Wriggle came in for dental treatment. Wriggle’s owner is part of our Pet Health Club which is a discount scheme where members receive a variety of benefits including six-monthly health checks for their pets. Wriggle recently saw RVN Jo for a health check and it was noted that tartar was accumulating on some of Wriggle’s teeth and that it would be prudent to have them descaled and polished under general anaesthetic. It is better to arrange for your pet’s teeth to be descaled and polished before there are signs of severe gum disease, oral pain or tooth decay. Severe dental disease can lead to further complications and organ failure if left untreated. Administering anaesthesia to healthy patients presents lower risks of complications than if the patient is already sick, underweight or suffering from diseases such as liver, renal or heart failure that can be associated with advanced dental disease. Wriggle has settled-in to a warm kennel and been given a premed by Vet Katherine. The premed ensures Wriggle is calm and relaxed ready for her general anaesthetic. It will also play an important role in ensuring a smooth recovery later-on.
Here Wriggle has been anaesthetised. You can see the intravenous catheter in her right foreleg. This catheter is placed to administer the anaesthetic agent and will now be used to support Wriggle throughout her anaesthesia by delivering intravenous fluids. It is important to support the various body systems by providing intravenous fluid therapy during anaesthesia; this is part of the high standards of care provided by the vets and nursing team at Orwell vets. In this photo Wriggle has not yet had her endotracheal tube placed.
Here you can see that Wriggle has had her endotracheal tube placed, this will maintain her airway and deliver gaseous anaesthesia and oxygen for the duration of her dental treatment. In this photograph the arrow is indicating the areas on Wriggle’s teeth where the tartar has accumulated. This is the most common area for this to occur on the molars. Tartar is a hard substance that adheres to the teeth over time, it cannot simply be brushed away hence the requirement for it to be descaled using an ultrasonic device, the same as dentists use (and hence the requirement for general anaesthesia in veterinary patients!)
This photograph shows the ultrasonic descaling process in action. The white material is the tie for a gauze dental swab which is carefully placed at the back of Wriggle’s throat to absorb any water and saliva produced during the dental procedure. Wriggle’s dental treatment is being carried out by a veterinary surgeon and her anaesthetic is being closely monitored by an experienced veterinary nurse. Patients undergoing general anaesthesia are monitored closely and continually. This allows us to provide a patient-centred approach, responding to the individual requirements of each animal at every step of their treatment.
After Wriggle’s teeth have been descaled and polished her mouth is thoroughly rinsed out. Here you can see the teeth are now spotless and polished. Wriggle will shortly be transferred to our intensive care ward while she recovers from her anaesthesia. Here she will be kept warm and comfortable while being closely monitored by our recovery nurse. Following a descale and polish, pets teeth and gums can be kept healthy by variety of methods. You can help keep cats teeth clean even if they will not tolerate daily brushing by feeding specially formulated dental diets such as Hill’s t/d, this can help to prevent tartar build-up and avoid the requirement for regular dental treatments.
This photograph shows Wriggle relaxing in our intensive care, being given some TLC by recovery nurse Jess. Wriggle has finished her IV fluids and will shortly move back to our cat ward before going home later today. We have contacted Wriggle’s owner to assure them she is doing well and arranged a discharge appointment for later.
Wriggle is now back in her kennel and is having a drink. We have separate cat and dog wards at Orwell Vets. We feel it is very important to provide our in-patients with a welcoming, quiet environment. Some of the more timid feline patients are offered cardboard boxes hide in inside their kennels if they feel happier being enclosed and more secluded. If your pet has a special toy or blanket we are happy to place this in their kennel while they are with us to ensure they have some home comforts and remain relaxed during their time with us.
Wriggle is about to go home. Her owner will be given advice on how to care for her tonight and over the next few days after her dental treatment. We will see Wriggle again for a dental check-up over the coming weeks but in the mean time we would like to thank Wriggle’s owner for allowing us to take her photograph and write this article about her. And of course thank you Wriggle for being such a wonderfully obliging patient!