While you may be accustomed to heading into your dentist’s office and saying “Ahhhh” for the procedure, in the veterinary world dental anesthesia for pets is the standard of care. Learn why your trusted team at Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital thinks dental anesthesia for pets is essential and what we are doing to make it safer than ever.

The Importance of Dental Anesthesia for Pets

Most veterinarians agree that anesthesia is a must for dental cleanings in pets. In fact, neither the American Veterinary Medical Association nor the American Veterinary Dental College recommend anesthesia-free cleanings. But why?

There are some very compelling reasons that dental anesthesia is required, no matter how well-behaved the pet.

  • A thorough examination of all sides of every tooth, as well as the portions under the gumline and the oropharynx, cannot be performed in an awake animal.
  • Cleaning requires use of water, which can be aspirated if the pet is not intubated under anesthesia.
  • Most pets do not allow every tooth to be accessed without causing some stress or discomfort to the pet.
  • If problems, such as serious periodontal disease or tooth fractures, are identified, we cannot perform tooth extractions or root canals without anesthesia.
  • With anesthetics we are able to obtain good quality dental radiographs (x-rays) that help us to identify and treat dental problems below the gumline.

The veterinary community is very united on the fact that dental anesthesia for pets is standard. This means that the vast majority of people offering anesthesia-free cleanings are lay people like groomers. Does your hairdresser clean your teeth? We thought not.

Keeping Things Safe

Even though anesthesia is a necessity for a pet dental cleaning and oral exam, the word still strikes fear into the hearts of many clients. Is anesthesia safe? What if your pet is a senior or has health issues?

While there is always some risk when it comes to anesthesia, this part of our job is one of the most important things we do. Anesthesia at our hospital is taken very seriously and complications are rare, even in senior or health compromised pets.

Anesthesia at our hospital includes:

  • A pre-surgical assessment by a veterinarian
  • A personalized drug and anesthesia plan, individualized to the patient
  • Use of the safest drug protocols available
  • Monitoring before, during, and after anesthesia by our skilled staff
  • State-of-the art monitoring equipment, including pulse oximetry, EKG, and blood pressure monitoring
  • Intravenous catheter placement and fluids
  • Endotracheal intubation to protect the airway and deliver oxygen/anesthetic gas
  • Body temperature management
  • Proactive pain prevention

While anesthesia is a little nerve-racking for most owners, you can rest assured that we are utilizing the safest techniques in an efficient manner.

Most pets need regular oral exams and cleanings under anesthesia. If you think it might be time for your pet to come in to see us, please call and arrange your free oral exam. We can help you get started with the best oral health program possible for your pet.