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“I`ve always felt that animals are the purest spirits in the world. They don’t fake or hide their feelings, and they are the most loyal creatures on earth. “ Pink

This is my 2nd week as a working veterinarian. Yesterday I got my name badge and my name on the consulting door with “veterinary surgeon” underneath. Such a surreal feeling. I made it, I made my dream since a little girl come true! I feel so privileged to have made it.

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I started my first day with my favourite subject: surgery. I did a couple of dog and cat castrations.  The rest of my first day I was asked to consult. I jumped right into the deep end and started consulting on my own on my first day. The reception was nice and scheduled in 20 minute consultations (instead of the normal 10min per patient) and also scheduled in fairly ok patients for me. I had a lot of vaccinations; booster vaccination, primary vaccinations of puppies, microchips and puppy litter checks.  I`ve seen a lot of ear infections- showing clients how to clean dog ears and dogs needing dentals. I know dental scale and polish can be expensive, but when your dog is 3-5 years and has a lot of dental tartar- you should as an owner prioritise this treatment for your pet. Postponing it will only make it worse! Your pet can get periodontal disease: which is both unpleasant and can result in your pet having to have its teeth out at a younger age than needed. When it gets to this stage it really is too late to brush its teeth. Brushing teeth is really a preventative measure which needs to be done preferably every night or every other night for it to have any affect. Both royal canine and Hills pet food supply a dental food diet, but again only part of the treatment for your dogs dental tartar. Recent studies have demonstrated that there is an association between oral health issues and systemic general health issues affecting the kidneys, heart and metabolic system.  Have you ever wondered why your dog`s breath smells? Bad breath in  pets can be cause by many health or behavioural reasons, but more likely due to lack of oral hygiene.

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Plaque is a clear white film that forms on the outside of the teeth. It is formed by bacteria naturally found in the mouth. Tarter or calculus is formed when plaque is allowed to sit and mix with chemicals found in the dogs saliva. This quickly form a coating (made of bacteria) developing on the teeth and also under the gumline. Once tartar is formed, it is too hard to be removed by a toothbrush and require a dental scale and polish. Gingivitis is another big concern. The inflammation of the gums is the immune systems attempt to get rid of the infection from the tartar buildup. Which is the beginning stage of peridonal disease, if this is left uyntreated it can recess into the gumline, periodontal pockets and cause oral abscessed and tooth loss. Because the bacteria from the mouth can become blood born, it can also affect other organs of the body and therefore contribute to heart disease etc and therefore shorten the pets life.

Oral health is key to a long healthy life for our furry friends, not just dogs but cats as well. Think if you had tooth ace and didn’t go to the dentist? It would only get worse, well it’s the same with your pet. Instead of giving stuffed toys and treats for Christmas, why not give your pet a dental scale and polish if its breath smells?

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This week I had to trim the tooth of a hamster. Most pet rats and pet hamsters will not have a problem with their teeth during their lifetime. If your small pet is happily chewing on toys and food during the day, he will keep his teeth healthy and you will not need to trim them. However, if your furry friend hurts a tooth or becomes sick, it’s possible that tooth overgrowth or another problem will arise that will necessitate a tooth clipping.

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That’s me for now, write soon.

Love,

Annette

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In final year we have rotations in different aspect of veterinary, but they had removed any practical rotations with dentistry. I think that dentistry is going to be a large part of veterinary practice when we qualify so booked myself a week with Norman Johnston which was the lecturer who taught us dentistry forth year.

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Norman Johnston had over the years created a specialist referral hospital for Dentistry up in North Berwick, Scotland. It was about a 2 hour drive from Glasgow and I was very lucky to come across Brenda & Frank at the Richmont cottage, who let me stay with them for my week for a very good price.
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Norman had seen dentistry with a lot of different species including, polar bears, sun bears, Asiatic black (moon) Bears, Chengu du, Lions, tigers, jaguars, leopards, cheetah, African wild dogs, gorilla, chimpanzees and may smaller monkeys such as L´hoest, squirrel monkey and lemur.  He’s also treated pygme hippo, red panda and babirusa so you can say hes seem quite the variety of patients. Norman used to teach the dentistry final years at Glasgow, so I think I was very lucky to find him.

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My first day I was thought the importance of the Dental chart, which is a chart that vets can use to systematically look at each tooth and grade how much gingivitis or calculus there is on a tooth. This could allow the vet to compare the mouth hygiene of a dog/cat from one polish to the next, and can also show the owners the importance of tooth brushing in animals. Norman used this in some dogs where they located where the owner were missing to brush on the teeth so that the owner could correct this for the next time.

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I saw a lot of different things, but the major difference I noticed with a referral dental clinic is that they have 2-3 patients a day, so everything is a lot less stressful and Norman also has the time to properly explain everything to the owners. He takes before and after pictures to make reports both to the vets and to the owner to better explain things, which I thought was an excellent idea.  There was a dog which had fractures its canine down to the pulp, which then had to be toot canaled. There was a cat which had been in a car accident that they had previously placed a wire to connect the mandible symphysis, the wire was removed and its fractures upper canines was removed.

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One little dog had mandibular disoclusion (overshot bite 2mm) and lingual displacement of the lower canines occluding into the hard palate. This created wounds in the hard palate. This is an inheritable condition.

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I also experienced removal of an epulis over upper incisors that had proliferated from the peridonal ligament (fibrous amilioblastoma) & incisor tumour growth.

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Dental vets also showed me how to position dental xrays to cover the tooth & root of the tooth you are investigating as well as developmental settings for the radiographic equipment.

My dog Tasha had fractured here decidious canine whilst playing with here brother and under further examination I concluded that the pulp was exposed. Norman was kind enough to let me fit Tasha in between the other clients on the last day. Because here canines were lingually displaced as well, we concluded to remove both here decidious whilst she was under anesthesia anyways to allow the permanent canines to have the full potential to develop naturally. The operation went fine, and she recovered great without pawing at here stitches too much.

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It was a great week, so hope to come back to see north berwick again. Its really a shame we don’t see dentistry practically at the vet school, but I at least feel a bit more equipped to deal with it when Im a new graduate now!

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