Friday, December 20, 2019

CERTIFIED ORAL PAIN FREE-A Prescription for Happiness~Number #40

Advanced Veterinary Dentistry
Donald H DeForge, VMD
Fellow of the Academy of Veterinary Dentistry
Practice Limited to Dentistry

A Prescription for Happiness:


Image result for Picture of a pet being hugged

Is My Pet in Oral Pain? 

It can be difficult to tell when a dog or cat is suffering from a painful oral condition. Being able to identify the signs and symptoms that your dog or cat is in pain is a very important part of being a pet owner.
Many animal dentists and oral care professionals have described "bad" oral pain! This is a form of pain that is hidden or occult at times in the pet you love!

Your pet can be living in chronic pain....... thinking that pain is normal while suffering from that pain!
STOP and consider the tragedy of living in pain and not being able to communicate that pain to others.  It is impossible to capture this thought without becoming emotional about your pet's constant discomfort.
As pet advocates, guided by animal dentists and trained oral care professionals......this hidden pain can be removed!

Causes of Bad Pain in Dogs and Cats:
Periodontal Disease [Gum Disease]

Cracked, Worn, or Completely Fractured Teeth


Masses in the mouth

Open Pulp Canals-Diseases of the Endodontic System

Damage to the Pulp and Root Canal by Trauma

Overgrowth of the gums

Disease of the lips, tongue, and sinuses

Stomatitis-Severe Oral Inflammation in dogs and cats

Hidden Jaw Fractures caused by Advancing Oral Disease

Oral Infections and Abscessation

Signs of Oral Disease and Bad Pain in Dogs and Cats:
 Unusual Drooling
 Dropping food and being unable to chew on the food
 Thrusting food into the back of the mouth to swallow
 Bad Breath in Dogs
 Bleeding gums
 Loss of Appetite
 Toy Avoidance
 Lethargy and Laziness
 Restless and Not Sleeping Well at Night
 Sneezing and Nasal Discharge
 Weight loss
 Avoiding dry foods and only eating canned or soft table food
 Chewing on One Side of the Mouth Only
 Sudden Shyness and/or Behavioral Changes
 Physical Changes in Your Dog's Mouth-swollen lips, cheeks,
 gums, etc.

Decreased Appetite

Not interacting with other pets or family members

Sleeping more

Not using litter box-eliminating in home

Decreased grooming in cats

Aggressive behavior in an otherwise friendly pet

Vocalization when touching the mouth

Spontaneous howling in dogs

Screeching when attempting to eat
Sometimes you may be able to tell there's something wrong in your dog or cat's mouth just by looking at or in their mouths.  Never force a mouth open if you suspect an oral problem or oral pain [see signs above]! 

Have your veterinarian or an animal dentist give a mild sedative to look into the mouth and make a non-definitive diagnosis.... without your pet experiencing pain. A definitive diagnosis is only possible under light analgesia-Gas Inhalation Anesthesia with oral x-rays.  A biopsy is needed, in many patients, to establish a diagnosis after screening dental x-rays evidence an abnormal radiology finding.

 In the healthy pet, oral checks at home should be done monthly to allow you to pick up any abnormal finding. Call your doctor for an exam and confirmation of these findings.  Your doctor will then decide if they wish to handle the problem or refer to an animal dentist.

Quality oral exams by pet advocates is something that should be done regularly to ensure good oral health.  Other times, the cause is not readily visible and will require a visit to your doctor or an animal dentist for oral x-rays.

You may notice one side of your pet's mouth is swollen; inflamed; or bleeding gums are present. There can be fractured or missing teeth. A bad malodor in the mouth is always sign of  oral pathology.

How to become a 

Certified Oral Pain Free Health Care Professional

Veterinary advocacy for this purpose~~~~~ a Certified Oral Pain Free Professional~~~~ is defined as involvement and leadership in the educational........... locally, regionally, and nationally.......... occupational activities that, directly and indirectly promote a pain free quality of life for all members of the Animal Kingdom.

Not all seek the education to be the source of a Continuing Education Program.  For those who defer from becoming an educator, the role of attending continuing education as a student must be accepted 

Whether student or teacher, a Certified Oral Pain Free Health Care Professional  must understand the importance of advances in oral care techniques through attendance at multiple continuing education programs.
A Certified Oral Pain Free Health Care Professional's mission includes the giving of valuable professional time and effort, on our profession’s behalf, to each patient and pet advocate seeking our care.  This care must be centered on compassion for the pain patient and empathy for the pet advocate who is stressed by the condition being treated in their pet.

Scheduling yearly, on-going, oral care continuing education is not only important and necessary for practice doctors but also for their staff........ emphasizing oral radiology and periodontology.

On the local front, it includes education of the pet advocate with oral photography and oral radiology to pin-point pain centers that may need generalist treatment or referral to an animal dentist.  

In difficult to diagnose oral x-rays, consider oral x-ray interpretation with a Telemedicine Oral X-ray Diagnostic Service. [E-Vet Diagnostics is one such service]

Becoming a Certified Oral Pain Free Health Care Professional must center on exhibiting compassion and detailed communication to all pet advocates and their companions.  It is more than producing a positive effect with a procedure.  It is providing love to the patient and a platform of trust to the pet advocate.

Inclusion of the Pet Advocate: 
Certified Oral Pain Free Pet Advocate and 
Caretaker of the Animal Kingdom

Your pet advocates can be great contributors in supplying valuable information to assure their pet is oral pain free! 

As a veterinarian or veterinary nurse, speak to your clients about the Stages of Periodontal Disease.  

In suspect oral pain patients, the pet advocates should ask their LDVM to perform a non-definitive survey oral exam in the examination room and then schedule a definitive oral exam with dental x-rays under general inhalation analgesia-anesthesia.

Prior to anesthesia for a complete dental cleaning and oral x-rays ask your veterinarian what pre-anesthesia tests they feel should be performed based on the age and health of your pet.  

Discuss with your veterinarian the anesthesia monitoring system that they utilize.  Also, review their anesthesia recovery system and post-anesthesia nursing care.

Have your doctor review post-cleaning plaque control to retard the reformation of plaque after Comprehensive Oral Diagnostics and Treatment.  Have your doctor differentiate a teeth cleaning and supportive periodontal care in cases of advanced oral disease.

Use Internet Education sources that are verifiable!

Read articles written by the American Veterinary Dental College; university animal oral care specialists; and authors with credentials in advanced oral care.

Never consider anesthesia-free or sedation-free dentistry.  It has been shown that this is completely ineffective in treating the source of oral disease which is the biofilm below the gum line.
Exam room or clinic cleanings without analgesia/sedation/ gas inhalation anesthesia will not only be ineffective but may cause patient pain or the creation of periodontal pockets.
Most importantly, make a promise to your pet today! 

You will begin each day promising that you will observe and learn something new........... about oral pain in the pet you love........... and you will return unconditional love-by having your veterinarian remove this pain...........doing this returns the unconditional love that is provided to you each day by your companion.  

This is not just in oral pain recognition but in ALL pain recognition.

As a pet advocate, you will never allow any sign of discomfort to go unnoticed in your companion.  You will seek and search out, today, a health care professional trained in oral care to describe all aspects; elements; and signs of "oral bad pain"!
You will be more alert to these  signs of "Bad Pain" and will seek professional help in the removal of that pain with a doctor who exhibits not only knowledge but a strong compassion with detailed communication.
Finally, you will reach out and hug the pet entrusted to your care with a promise to never allow ANY pain to occur in the life that you have been selected and entrusted to love....... as a pet advocate.

Leo Buscaglia stated that "Love is Life"!  

Removing ALL oral pain from the pet you LOVE........ is LIFE!

Make that LIFE meaningful....... starting today! 

It is a journey of LOVE which will allow you to find inner peace and happiness!



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