Teeth cleaning for senior pooch
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  • M

    Hi, everyone! I would like some opinions, suggestions, etc. about teeth cleaning for an elderly basenji. I just took my 15-year-old basenji in for her senior wellness exam, and all her lab results came back great. That was a big relief as she was diagnosed with kidney insufficiency last year, and it has been a bit of a struggle to get her on the correct dosage of calcitriol and phosphorus and everything. Anyway, she is doing great and acting like a naughty puppy again.

    BUT, she has some gum disease and a significant amount of tartar buildup, especially on her back teeth. She has always had teeth issues, and we have had to have a number of them extracted. We've had her teeth cleaned several times, and she has done fine each time. That said, I hesitate to take her for another teeth cleaning. The doctor even said there is a chance the procedure could cause some kidney damage (something to do with the anesthesia and the possibility of her blood pressure dropping).

    Do any of you know of any other effective procedures that would NOT involve putting her under? I dug out the PetzLife gels and have vowed to rub that on her teeth, but to be honest I don't know how well that will work, as she does NOT like to hold still for that. Also, there may be too much tartar buildup to have much of an effect. I am not opposed to going through with the teeth cleaning, since I do trust our vet and all, but I would hate for her to suffer any side effects or setbacks because of it. What would you do?

    Any thoughts or advice any of you might have would be much appreciated!

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  • My advise is to have them cleaned, especially if she has always had teeth issues. Since her labs are good, should not be a problem, I would not think. Usually with seniors they put them on extra fluids sometimes before a procedure, during and after to help the kidneys.

    Then you can try using Plaque Off, I swear by this stuff… not expensive considering how little you use and you just put it on their food. However, that said, you should also brush daily... it really does make a difference.

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  • @mariko:

    Do any of you know of any other effective procedures that would NOT involve putting her under? I dug out the PetzLife gels and have vowed to rub that on her teeth, but to be honest I don't know how well that will work, as she does NOT like to hold still for that. Also, there may be too much tartar buildup to have much of an effect. I am not opposed to going through with the teeth cleaning, since I do trust our vet and all, but I would hate for her to suffer any side effects or setbacks because of it. What would you do?

    Any thoughts or advice any of you might have would be much appreciated!

    I've been using the PetzLife gel/spray on my B for quite awhile. I usually do it a few times per week as maintenance, but will switch to daily when I notice the dental health being sub par.

    Best time to do it is right before bedtime. It'll saturate their teeth overnight. I have always noticed a big improvement in breath odor after using this more frequently.

    It certainly can't hurt to use in combination with brushing their teeth.

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  • D

    I had an elderly female BRAT foster have a dental when she was 15 1/2 years old. She had to have it done as she never had a dental in her life. She did not have to have any teeth removed just the cleaning. Her blood values were pretty good for her age. She also had to go under for a stump pyometra at 16 1/2 and this was an emergency. She did well for both and after the last surgery she was up and around fairly quickly. After both procedures she went home with me the same day.

    Jennifer

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  • S

    I think its important to do this as well.

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  • Houston

    Then you can try using Plaque Off, I swear by this stuff… not expensive considering how little you use and you just put it on their food. However, that said, you should also brush daily... it really does make a difference.

    +1..I love this stuff..seen a huge improvement in my dachshunds teeth since I started using it..I also use petzlife but he can't stand the taste so this is so much easier since it is mixed in with their food….all my dogs, inlcuding my 5 month old B puppy gets this on their food every single morning.

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  • And my friend Jeff who has two cats with nasty teeth has seen a huge difference since using Plaque Off

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  • We had a 17 year old who needed dental and she did fine. The first night she was very lethargic, didn't want to drink and I forced water and chicken broth every hour (till we went to sleep) and by morning she was perky and drinking. If she has bad teeth, get it done, she will feel much better!

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  • @tanza:

    Then you can try using Plaque Off, I swear by this stuff… not expensive considering how little you use and you just put it on their food.

    Pat, is this safe long term? Any studies done or needed?

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  • First Basenji's

    Wow, I am impressed that B's can still go under at 15 ~ 17 years old! For some reason I thought things got much more dangerous once they hit double-digits, but it sounds like if all the pre-anesthesia screening levels are good, it's okay…?

    We use Plaque Off here too, by recommendation of this forum. We're on our second bottle, and to be honest, I haven't noticed a huge difference, though they did help to knock off some of the worst stuff that was on Bowpi's teeth when she first came to us. I think it helps, but it's not the miracle formula I was looking for. ;)

    On the other hand, we made a breakthrough with teeth-brushing and now both my dogs seem to enjoy it!

    Fran, PlaqueOff has a link to a clinical pilot study right on their website:
    http://www.plaqueoff.com/om/research/studies/clinical-pilot-study

    I haven't had a chance to read it carefully yet to tell if it's really legit, but you may want to take a peek.

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  • @Kipawa:

    Pat, is this safe long term? Any studies done or needed?

    It was recommended by another breeder up Washington way since her sister (Lab breeder) has used it for a long time and swears by it. It is a person that Kevin & Therese know and have co-bred with, Lisa Hart.

    But here is a link to the site that manufactures Plaque Off that has information and research studies both for animals and humans

    http://www.plaqueoff.com/for-animals

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  • @Kipawa:

    Pat, is this safe long term? Any studies done or needed?

    It is safe. Is it research tested… minimal with only 22 subjects... showing not that impressive results and actual increase after I think 5 weeks beginning and going up steady.

    I had Arwen's teeth cleaned. I have used one container of the stuff, and I brush every single day. She still had gum issues so frankly, I doubt it hurts but I also doubt you'll find much more than personal experiences and sites rating it by users without scientific back up.

    On the Petzlife, again, no research. Research was done on grapefruit extract. I used that in toothpaste probably, no joke, 15 yrs ago. It does help kill bacteria. But plaque and tartar... no. Again, won't hurt. There is some question about ingesting it daily and causing the same bacteria resistance you get from anti-bacterial soaps though, so I quit using it.

    I agree with everyone, cleaning those teeth is needed. The infections they can cause are far more dangerous than the cleaning almost always, especially with her blood work holding good. And I hate to say it, but daily brushing with our dogs with teeth issues... just a terrible option but the best. It took Arwen, no exaggeration, almost 6 mos to stop fighting me (though she went from ballistic to half hearted after a couple of months). Now, almost 18 mos into it, she not only doesn't fight but actually, reluctantly, comes over instead of hides when she sees the toothbrush.

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  • Daily teeth brushing will save a lot of pain/sickness and $ too down the line. Just try to make the teeth brushing as non traumatic as possible. Remember to be gentle so as not cause pain or damage to the gums. Make it so the B thinks they have some control. I've been doing it daily since 94 to my B's. I just use water too.

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  • M

    Thanks for all your responses! We're going to go through with the cleaning. Our vet is very cautious and careful and will monitor Deedle's blood pressure throughout the procedure, so I think she will be okay. Also, I will invest in some PlaqueOff, and I vow to brush Deedle's teeth (how many times have I made that vow? Can't one of you come over and threaten me?).

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  • M

    Hi,

    I just wanted to post a follow-up in case anyone was interested! I took Deedle in for her teeth cleaning on Friday. They kept her very well hydrated to make sure her kidneys didn't suffer, and she did really well. They wanted to keep her an extra couple of hours so they could keep pumping fluids through her, but I had to go get her a bit early because, ahem, she was making "basenji noises" and indicated she wanted to come home! I got to the vet's office, and I could hear her CRYING and yipping and making all sorts of noises. Oh, boy.

    A couple of days later, and she seems pretty much back to herself. The doctor had to extract two teeth (one fell out while they were cleaning!). She said there was an abscess, so now Deedle should be much happier and more comfortable. I am going to start brushing her teeth in a couple weeks, plus I got the PlaqueOff stuff (such a tiny little bottle! I thought it was going to be a huge tub).

    Thanks for all your suggestions and help. I appreciated every word!

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  • That is great news. I would suggest that you start just rubbing her teeth and gums with your finger… and you should be able to brush lightly before the end of the week. Get a nice really, really soft toothbrush for her.

    And I hear you about teeth falling out... that happened to my OJ every time he had a teeth cleaning. I am sure she will be feeling 100% better without the bad teeth and abscess!

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  • T

    Went to the ProDen website and read up on it. Then I went to Amazon and ordered it! It was actually developed for humans before they developed the pet formula. I liked the sound of it so well, I may order the human version for me (I am a serious calculus/plaque producer who has had 2 oral surgeries)
    My furkids usually have no trouble with new foods so I don't anticipate any issues except when the girls are in season and the boys quit eating anyway…

    Terry

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  • I have not heard of any dogs that had a problem with it being added to the food.

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  • Does anyone have experience with "no anesthesia" teeth cleaning? I'm planning to take my 12-year-old in for this procedure but would welcome second opinions.

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  • @tanza:

    My advise is to have them cleaned, especially if she has always had teeth issues. Since her labs are good, should not be a problem, I would not think. Usually with seniors they put them on extra fluids sometimes before a procedure, during and after to help the kidneys.

    Then you can try using Plaque Off, I swear by this stuff… not expensive considering how little you use and you just put it on their food. However, that said, you should also brush daily... it really does make a difference.

    +1 on the Plaque Off. It's quite effective! I'm going to be getting some of their 'human' Plaque Off. What's good enough for the basenji is good enough for me.

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  • @ZenGrrrl:

    Does anyone have experience with "no anesthesia" teeth cleaning? I'm planning to take my 12-year-old in for this procedure but would welcome second opinions.

    I posted to this yesterday– Don't do it. The AMVA and the dental association say run from such procedures as you cannot get cleaned under the gums so while (like the spray stuff) it might make teeth above gums and breath better, does not do the job.

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