04 June 2015

Teeth Cleaning Before and After with Dr. Alex Casuccio at Scottsdale Animal Healthcare

If you have read my blog in the past it's no surprise that my dogs have terrible teeth. In fact, they have had dental problems for almost a decade now. Last year was tough for me financially as I planned two moves within New Jersey and then a cross-country move at the end of the year to Arizona. Usually Bebe and Jolie get their teeth cleaned every year but last year they did not. Boy was that ever a mistake. The stench from their mouths became unbearable and it wasn't until I was giving them a bath - see post and photos here - that I knew something was wrong. Bebe's tooth broke and just fell out. She wasn't in pain, didn't cry, but here I had in my hand a very rotten tooth that smelled terrible. I knew that I needed to do something, and do it fast.

Since I was new to the area I knew that I had to go off of recommendations and reviews. My dogs are also seniors so I wanted the very best vet in the area. Through a friend, I was recommended to Dr. Alex Casuccio and Scottsdale Animal Healthcare. He and his entire staff are extremely professional and I knew that my dogs were in good hands the moment I met him for the first time.

Dr. Casuccio didn't tell me anything that I didn't already know. My dogs teeth were rotten and infected and if not treated ASAP it would lead to much more serious health risks, disease, and possibly death. This is common with any infection, even in humans.

I scheduled their teeth cleaning three days after my next payday. I knew I was looking at a few hundred dollars, I paid a little over $1300 after all was said and done. That definitely hurt the wallet.

To my surprise, it was Jolie's teeth that were more infected than Bebe's. Jolie lost a total of 7 teeth and Bebe only had 3 extractions. One of Bebe's extractions was her beloved snaggle tooth which was so infected that upon removal is almost fractured her jaw. She will now only eat soft mushy food. Below are the photos that were emailed to me while the pups were in recovery and waking up from anesthesia (how professional!)

Here is Jolie's mouth:

Here is Bebe's mouth:

Bebe had a total of three extractions including her beloved snaggle tooth. Everyone just loved her snaggle tooth including me, but sadly it was the most infected tooth in her mouth. The infection reached all the way to her jaw and the vet was very specific and blunt when he said that any chewing would result in a fractured jaw. I've since then been preparing all of Bebe's food to a baby food-like consistency and will continue to do this for the rest of her life. Leave a comment below if you would like high-protein and low-fat homemade dog recipes.
Jolie had a total of seven teeth removed. Her infection was much more severe than Bebe's was and in fact I had no idea. Trying to brush Jolie's teeth takes multiple people and a sedative. Just to have the vet LOOK at her mouth that required three people prying her mouth open. She may weigh 4lbs but her strength is out of the ordinary.

Above are the medications and treatments that the vet recommended after surgery. The large clear spray is an antiseptic rinse that is to be used 2x a day. It is called Clenz-a-dent and as the name suggests, it cleans the dogs teeth. Spraying this in my dogs mouth has been quite the challenge. Bebe is good, but Jolie is a nightmare. I'm literally trying to hold her down just to get a few droplets in her on a daily basis. I've used their product in the past before and they are a good solid company. I suggest getting their product on Amazon as at the vet they are usually marked up, someone has to make a profit right?

The next item you see in the picture there are two dark glass vials of ZydaClin which is an antibiotic. As you can imagine, after removing infections in the teeth area it is important to treat the infected area. As per Drugs.com, this medicine is labeled as Oral Drops that contain clindamycin hydrochloride which is the hydrated salt of clindamycin. This liquid is given once a day to each pup until empty. 1cc for Bebe and .5cc for Jolie.

Canine dental hygiene is extremely important and can turn deadly if left untreated. I urge you to educate yourselves on the issue, especially if you have little dogs! It is common in them the most! Please feel free to ask any questions. Thanks for reading!

21 April 2015

How to Care for your Toothless Senior Dog

I am extremely blessed to have my Bebe for over 12 years now. She has been the perfect little dog since the day I got her in March of 2003. I felt like the luckiest girl in the world, and not only because it was St. Patrick's Day, but because I had made my first adult decision, I had just turned 18 and was crazy excited to finally have my first dog. Sure I had dogs before, but they weren't mine. They were my dads hunting dogs, they were never allowed to sleep inside, and for sure they were never allowed to wear outfits or bows. I couldn't be more excited to take care of my at the time 8 week old Bebe. Today she is 8 months away from turning 13 and I'm still as lucky as ever to be her doggy mommy. Until she decides to leave me here on Earth, which by the way I hope isn't for another decade!

Over the past decade, boy does time fly, Bebe has had some real dental problems. It is common in the Yorkshire Terrier breed, and trust me it's not your fault. I've always fed her the best food, filtered water, and yearly teeth cleanings, however she still has very bad teeth.

A few weeks ago, as part of her weekly bath, Bebe's back molar fell out. YES, it just fell out. I heard a loud clank and thought initially my hair clip fell to the floor, nope, her tooth.

I was so mortified, I jumped out of the shower, shampoo still in my hair and wrapped Jolie into a towel and set her in the sink. As I examined Bebe, she was fine. She didn't have any discomfort or bleeding, but what I did have was a very foul smelling tooth in my hand. On the plus side, better to have it in my hand rather than in her mouth.

Bebe has her snaggle tooth holding on strong but only 3 back molars, I want the vet to remove all of these teeth for many reasons.

  • because of Bebe's age, vets charge a fortune now to always get a blood panel done before anesthesia, and some vets aren't even putting dogs Bebe's age under for teeth cleaning.
  • Bebe's teeth are bad, it's a host for infection and I'd rather have the remaining removed rather than an infection bleeding into other areas of her body, and also correlated diseases to gingivitis, heart disease.
  • her breath! I welcome puppy kisses all day and everyday but I have to admit I have turned away from Bebe due to her foul odor in her mouth.
How do you care for a pup with no teeth? Well, imagine yourself with no teeth or dentures, you would make sure to feed yourself with shakes and soups and the same should be done with your fur kid. Bebe has a difficult time ripping treats apart so I obviously am not buying her Milk Bones. Instead I feed her mushy food and purees that I prepare her. Using the only very best ingredients.

You can puree basically anything these days. I through everything into the blender. Carrots, fish oil, chicken, and vitamins. It doesn't bother me to do it, I know my dog is healthier this way and still getting all her vitamins. I meal prep routinely on Sunday and meal prepping for Bebe daily has gotten me more into meal prepping in general.

Please keep in mind that infections can spread so that if your pup has had teeth fall out it needs to be checked out by a veterinarian. If there is an active infection, it can spread to the dog's sinus cavities or even to the brain. Be sure to monitor your dogs mouth.

No teeth are certainly better than rotten teeth!

04 December 2014

Tips on Finding a Sitter/Kennel/Boarding during the Holidays!

I'm not one to travel much during the holidays but this year I've been doing a lot of traveling lately. I didn't realize just how hard it was to find boarding and sitting for my two dogs until I actually started the hunt. I will be going away for two weeks at the end of the year and I started to panic. My plane ticket was a but pricey but I had a Southwest Luv coupon of $200 which made it a great deal to fly during the holidays. I started to ask all my friends and family members if they could sit for Bebe and Jolie. Well here's the issue with that, the holidays are busy and everyone is pretty much doing what you're doing, vacationing, spending time with family, and going out. Turns out each and every one of my friends were traveling. Major bummer for me. My next quest was to search all over DogVacay and try to find a pet sitter. The prices were outrageous. I was quoted for $1000+ dollars for the dogs stay, way more than I even paid for my flight ticket. I contacted over 20 sitters and settled on one that would have done it for $500, still more than my ticket, but better than the $1k price.

This started to make me restless, the sitter had sad she was hosting parties while I would be away and that my dogs would sit in her bedroom with her other dog. I panicked. I lost sleep. I was an anxious disaster. So I kept asking around practically at the point of begging all my friends.

A few weeks prior I had a girls night in with my friends. It was a movie, wine, and puppy pajama party. Yes we are all almost 30 and this is perfectly acceptable behavior for us. My one friend has a long haired Chihuahua and funny enough her name is also Bebe. That Bebe and my Bebe and Jolie all played together and it was all sorts of cute.

I decided to vent with my friend and tell her the predicament I was in, she offered to sit my dogs! Can you believe it? I sure couldn't being that she already had a dog. Imagine that, 3 pups for the holidays.

My advice to you is to check with everyone, and I mean everyone you know. There are people I thought would say yes and who said no. There are people I thought of never asking and they actually said yes, and than there are the people I received price quotes online from who I considered taking out a personal loan for.

I'd also like to mention to research your airlines! I am new to Southwest and have only flown them once before and will be flying them again in 3 weeks and I've got to say they are quickly becoming my favorite. I am a United traveler usually, but more and more I keep running into problems with them. Let's face it, their customer service leaves much to be desired.

Another idea I had was actually traveling with my pets to my destination. Turns out you cannot take two pets on board with you on any other airline besides Southwest. They allow two pets of the same species in the same carrier. No other airline does this. Their prices are also very reasonable - $95 each way. I want to point that out because I have two little dogs, granted Jolie is only 3lbs and shouldn't even count, but she does in the eyes of the TSA.

So there you have it, this is how to prepare to board your dog for the holidays or doing travel times.

In my continued preparation for their stay I am packing all sorts of goodies and necessities that they may need. Think individual zip-lock bags for each day of food, treats, toys, butt wipes, fragrance mist, extra bows, brush, bowls, wee wee pads, sweaters and some dirty laundry with your scent on it.

My next advice, SHOWER the person who agreed to take your pet in for sitting. Remember those numbers that people quoted you? Well take some of that and go shopping for your dog host. Think champagne, wine, cheese platter, gift cards, flowers, and chocolate covered strawberries. You want to treat the person who is treating your fur kids with as much love and respect as possible.

I hope this post helped you and I wish you a very happy holiday!