Dr. Bob's Animal Health and Information  Site



Dr. Bobs Pet Health and Information Site




Dr. Bob's All Creatures Site 

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Dr. Bob's All Creatures Site    509 Benicia Road, Vallejo, California, USA 707-642-4405


Winter 2000 Newsletter

In this issue:


News from

All Creatures Veterinary Hospital

     With Spring approaching, it is time to make sure your preventive health program is providing the proper protection for your pets.  This is the time to have your pet's yearly heartworm test done.  Keep giving them their monthly Heartguard Plus to protect against heartworms and intestinal worms.  You should also make sure your pet is current on its vaccinations against the common preventable diseases in our area.  And of course, you should make sure to keep applying monthly Advantageto your pet to keep the flea problem away.  You should also perform appropriate flea extermination procedures in your house and yard to keep the fleas from creating a large population as the weather begins to warm up.  Last, but actually most important, you should make sure your pet has had a thorough physical examination within the last 12 months.  If not, call and schedule an appointment to have this done.

Robert L. Linville, D.V.M.






For years, we have preached the benefits of proper dental health care.  We are curious to know how much you have retained from all these lessons and invite you to TEST YOUR PET DENTAL I.Q. and hope you have fun testing your pet dental knowledge.

Just grab a pencil or pen and proceed.  The answers are at the end of this newsletter so you will not be distracted by them.

True of False

1. Periodontal disease (or gum disease) is caused by a plaque built-up. _______

2. As plaque buildup hardens, it turns into a substance called tartar.


3. If tartar is allowed to build up on the teeth, they soon become covered with a shell of brownish, foul-smelling material. This situation inflames the gums causing gingivitis. __________








4. Gingivitis seldom leads to the loss of a pet's teeth. __________

5. The problems associated with periodontal disease are limited to the pet's oral cavity. _________

6. A routine dental procedure for a pet is similar to one you receive from your family dentist except that we usually administer a short-acting general anesthetic. _______

7. According to the American Veterinary Dental Society (AVDS), an astounding 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show signs of oral disease by age 3. ________

8. Smaller breeds of dogs can be predisposed to more marked forms of periodontal disease._______

9. for some reason, animals do not feel the pain caused by dental problems._______

10. Left untreated, the constant exposure to infection caused by periodontal disease may adversely affect your pet's vital organs. ____


Reduce the risk

of oral disease by:

1.The first step in preventing oral disease is a routine physical examination including a dental exam.

2. Pet owners should practice a regular dental care regimen at home, which may include brushing the pet's teeth with specially formulated toothpaste. It's best to start your pet early but older dogs and cats can learn to tolerate brushing.  Toothpaste for humans is not recommended because it may upset the pet's stomach.

3. If you notice any of the telltale dental trouble signs, your pet should be taken to the veterinarian for a dental exam.  give our office a call to make an appointment for your pet to undergo a dental procedure.


Chew on these Pet Dental Facts!
  • Periodontal disease is common in dogs of smaller breeds because dogs' teeth often are too large for their mouths, forcing the teeth closer together
  • Cats can develop painful cervical line lesions.  Studies show that about 28% of domestic cats develop at least one of these painful lesions during their lifetime
  • Bacteria, combined with saliva and food debris between the tooth and gum, can cause plaque formulations that accumulate on the tooth.  As bacteria grow in the plaque and as calcium salts are deposited, plaque turns to tartar.
  • Unlike the inflamed gums of gingivitis, which can be treated and reversed with thorough plaque removal and continued plaque control, periodontitis can only be contained to prevent progression. The disease caused red, swollen and tender gums, receding gums, bleeding, pain and bad breath.  If left untreated, periodontitis can lead to tooth loss.
  • The infection caused by periodontal disease may enter the bloodstream, potentially infecting the heart, liver and kidneys.
  • Common indications of oral disease include bad breath, a change in eating or chewing habits, pawing at the face or mouth and depression.

If any of these signs are present, your pet should be taken to the veterinarian for a dental exam.

Answers to Commonly Asked Questions About Pet Dental Health

Q. Will my pet suffer if I don't take care of its teeth and gums?

A. Periodontal or Gum Disease can cause your pet pain.  It can also cause serious dental problems later in life as well as possibly lead to more serious illnesses, such as heart and kidney disease.

Q. Can pets get cavities?

A. Just like humans, pets can get cavities.  However, cavities in animals are rather rare because their diets usually consist of foods that are low in decay causing sugars. To avoid cavities, feed your pet only those foods and treats designed for animals.

Q. Isn't it natural for pets to have bad breath?

A. No! sometimes bad breath is indicative of a more serious illness. Most often however, it is caused by the presence of periodontal disease.  If you notice that your pet has bad breath, it is important to give our office a call.

Q. How can a dental procedure help my pet?

A. As we said earlier in this newsletter, a dental procedure for a pet is very similar to the one you receive.  Just like with human teeth, it is important to remove the plaque, stain and tartar encrusted above and below the gum line thereby restoring your pet's teeth to a clean and polished condition and removing the bacteria that may cause periodontal disease.


Q. When considering their dental health, what is best to feed a pet dog or cat?

A. Generally, studies show that hard food is slightly better for keeping plaque from accumulating on the teeth.  Additionally, there is a special food product for dogs and cats that has proven helpful in reducing plaque and tartar.  If you have any questions about this product's use with your pet, talk to the doctor or a member of our staff.




As we explained earlier in this newsletter, one of the best ways to prevent periodontal disease is the frequent brushing of your pet's teeth. Sound familiar?  Your dentist has probably been making similar statements about your teeth for years. It is no different with your pet.

If you are unsure of how to brush your pet's teeth, these three easy steps should prove helpful:

1. Wrap a cloth or piece of gauze around your finger and use it like a toothbrush on your pet's teeth.  Wipe all the teeth, front and back, with strokes from the gum line to the tip of the tooth.  Do this for one or two weeks until your pet is familiar with having the gums and teeth rubbed.

2. Gradually work up to a soft toothbrush and plain water. After a week of using a sort toothbrush, add a small amount of special pet toothpaste.  Never use human toothpaste as it will irritate the pet's stomach!

3. Begin by brushing the front teeth and then the large upper and lower teeth in the back.  The bristles should be held at a 45 degree angle to the tooth surface and be moved in an oval direction. Scrub in the crevice where the gums meet the teeth as this is where odor and infection begin.

If you remain uncertain of the proper technique or need the correct dental products, give our office a call. One of our staff members will be happy to help you.

   Emergency Warning Signs

It is occasionally important to review the warning signs of pet health problems. Call us immediately if you detect any of these warning signs!

  • Vomiting or diarrhea

  • Lumps on or beneath the skin

  • Abdominal pain.

  • excessive panting or trouble breathing

  • Changes in the consistency of the stool.

  • Increased shedding of hair

  • Lethargy

  • Itching or chewing

  • discharge from ears, eyes or nose.

  • Swollen or bleeding gums, bad breath.

  • Rectal temperature higher than 102.5 degrees F

A Checklist for Eye Problems

The following are five basic warning signs for possible eye disease.

1. If the vision seems to be decreased, marked by a diminished visual performance in either daytime or nighttime over an extended period.

2. If the white portion of the eye appears to be bloodshot.

3. If the eye seems to be in pain, i.e., if the animal is squinting, rubbing at the face, tears are spilling on the face, crying or vocalizing when the eye area is manipulated.

4. If the eye surface looks cloudy.

5. If there is an accumulation or thick discharge around the eyes for several days.

Call our office if your pet's eyes show any of these warning signs. Catching problems early is critical to long term success!

1.True 2.True 3.True
4.False (Gingivitis often leads to a loss of a pets teeth.)
5.False(A pet's vital organs may be affected.)
6.True 7.True 8.True
9.False (Pets can feel great pain and it can affect their behavior.)