Minnie's Teeth

Teeth, originally uploaded by indietoy.

Our Beagle Minnie had oral surgery on 12/28/09. We were expecting her to have 3 teeth removed, her remaining teeth scraped and cleaned and a benign lump removed from her backside.
Instead she had 14 teeth removed after a thorough review of her x-rays and mouth.

Most people ask me if she has any teeth left? I didn't know that dogs had 42 teeth and that there are 8 teeth that do most of the work in their mouth. Fortunately for Minnie, she only had to have one of those big performers removed.

Our vet Dr. Friend worked on Minnie for over four hours and did a fantastic job. I was on edge the whole time Minnie was in surgery because she has a heart mumur and I really didn't know just how bad her teeth had become in the six years that we've had her.

Let me step back a little bit:

A few years ago we were told that she was developing Gingervitis and a dental cleaning was recommended. But because of the heart murmur, she had to have additional blood work done and an Echocardiogram performed to make sure she would be OK using anethesia. Spencer and I decided at the time that it wasn't worth taking a chance that she wouldn't pull through the operation just to have her teeth cleaned. At the time, we thought this was a sound decision. I kept thinking, 'How would I feel if she died on the table just to get her teeth cleaned?"

Flash forward to November of this past year. During Minnie's yearly exam the Vet noticed that there had been much progression in the decay of her teeth. Some teeth were simply missing, her gums were infected and there was a distinct possibility that the infection could get into her blood stream and travel to her heart if left unchecked.

In the end, we made the right decision and I regret that I didn't heed the vet's advice years earlier. I didn't know how much pain she had been in with such a rotting mouth. She had bad breath and was just our happy and lazy Beagle. But after the surgery and the time it took her gums to heal, she is still the same disposition but she looks so much happier. She runs in short bursts now. She's more alert and engaged in every movement around her.

Spencer has begun brushing her teeth every morning with flavored chicken toothpaste and she looks forward to having her teeth brushed because he's made it fun for her. We have a calendar hanging up and each day a big old "X" get maked to track our progress.

If you have a dog and dental cleaning is a suggested preventative measure to maintaining her health then you should do it if you can afford the care. If I had Minnie's teeth cleaned years ago, maybe she wouldn't have lost so many teeth and suffered in silence for so long.

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