Can A Dental Exam Save A Life?

Can A Dental Exam Save A Life?Can A Dental Exam Save A Life?

The short answer is yes.

Thanks to Pedigree and a $20,000 grant, the Humane Society of Southern Arizona (HSSA) is providing life-saving dental work for shelter dogs.

After completing a shelter transfer from an animal care center that had no on-staff veterinarian, we realized just how lucky our adopters are. Every pet that leaves our shelter for their forever home has been spayed/neutered, fully vaccinated, and had all other extensive medical conditions addressed and treated to our fullest ability.

Can a dental exam save a life?

Because we open our doors to pets from all types of backgrounds, our staff often finds themselves in expensive situations. Thanks to a grant from Pedigree, we are able to schedule clinic appointments for shelter pets that are much more extensive than a basic spay or neuter. Many times, a pet will be showing signs of poor health, and when we examine their mouths, it is clear that they are in need of serious dental care. This grant opens the doors for more pets to be healthy enough to find their forever home, which is the ultimate goal.

How much could it actually cost?

While dental work can vary in price, even one extracted tooth can cost our shelter up to $400. The longer rotting teeth are left untreated in a dog’s mouth, the more costly dental procedures can be. Being able to extract teeth when a dog arrives at our shelter is incredibly beneficial, not only to the dog, but to potential adopters, because more costly procedures can potentially be avoided.

The majority of the pets waiting for a dental procedure are older, small breed dogs, or dogs with snub-noses.

If left untreated these pets would die, but thanks to HSSA they will all find homes.

Dental issues in pets is no small health issue. There are cases where animals have severe abscess of the teeth, which is painful and can even lead to starvation. Other symptoms of severe dental issues include bacterial infections, severe valvular regurgitation, and even heart failure. Yes, a pet’s heart can fail if dental issues are left untreated.

After a dental procedure at HSSA, each pet is given ample healing time before becoming available for adoption. Some pets will spend time in foster care if their procedure was especially invasive.

We make sure to be clear with the adopter that their new pet has just had serious work done on their teeth. We will also send them home with the right food for their situation and some tips on how to keep their mouths healthy!

How can you tell if your pet might be in need of a dental exam?

Pets should receive an annual vet check-up to make sure they are healthy and happy! Make sure your vet checks out your pet’s gums, teeth and throat for signs of dental disease.

Here are a couple of signs that your pet’s mouth might be in pain because of their teeth:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Avoiding hard foods
  • Foul breath (or more foul than usual)
  • Fluid-filled bump on muzzle
  • Green discharge from their mouth
  • Severe drooling

If your pet is experiencing any of these symptoms, give your vet a call and ask for further assistance or advice.

How can I help a homeless pet?

Our shelter, clinic, and other services rely solely on the support of our community. Grants like the one given to us by Pedigree help us provide a comfortable life for more pets. The ability to afford dental procedures for homeless pets is priceless. It saves lives, not to mention that it saves adopters from potentially expensive future visits to a vet.

Before this grant was in place, most dental procedures were covered by our Second Chance Fund. Thanks to Pedigree, the Second Chance Fund now pays for other life-saving situations, like emergency rescues and treatment of severe medical issues.

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