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National Pet Dental Month

National Pet Dental Month

by Dr. Carla Case-... on Mon, 02/13/2012 - 9:56am

Submitted by Lisa A. Yackel, CVPM, PHR

Hospital Administrator at Case Veterinary Hospital

February is National Pet Dental Month and, for over a decade, veterinarians have combined their efforts with many organizations in veterinary medicine to get the word out to owners about the importance of dental hygiene.  For many veterinary hospitals, Case Veterinary Hospital included, this presents a double edged sword.   Dental disease is ongoing and not just during one month out of the year.  On a marketing standpoint, it makes sense to align this campaign in February which is traditionally a slow time of year for veterinarians.  You will see discounts and specials crop up all over the country.  Our pharmaceutical reps are also presenting us with specials on oral products and foods.   Much like October has become synonymous with Breast Cancer Month, February is known as Pet Dental Month.  The American Cancer Society has done a fantastic  job with increasing awareness of breast cancer and should be commended for their efforts.  My point, however, is that breast cancer can be found during the other 11 months of the year and we should not compromise our health and a potential early diagnosis by waiting until October for “specials”.

At Case, part of our Preventative Care Exam is checking for dental disease.  If found, we let the pet owner know that periodontal disease can harm a dog's or cat's heart, kidneys, and liver. We inform them that unchecked plaque in their pet's mouth allows bacteria to flourish or overgrow, causing periodontal disease. These bacteria can enter the blood stream through lesions in a pet's diseased gums. And it doesn't always take advanced disease for this to happen. Once in the blood stream, the bacteria can travel throughout the body and potentially impact their pet's organs.  We know finances these days are tight for most of our clients, but we certainly don’t want to encourage them to wait until February to see if there might be some special offers to take advantage of.

As the Hospital Administrator at Case, I am going to use the national campaign and free advertising to our advantage by tying in to all the promotions.  For the first time this year, we might even offer some discounts to help clients who want to do the right thing for their pets but are having a difficult time fitting it into their budget.  I will caution my healthcare team about the danger of not being diligent about client education year round.  With 80% of pets over the age of three having some form of dental disease, it is imperative that we ensure that our clients know about home health care for dental hygiene.  We want to partner with them to figure out what works best for their pet’s temperament and their lifestyles.  We use the phrase: It is good to chew, better to rinse, best to brush at our hospital.  If you have a pet or a lifestyle that does not lend well to daily teeth brushing, don’t feel guilty.  There are now many wonderful products, including food, which can help you maintain your pets’ oral hygiene. 

Here is a great video that will dispel some of the incorrect information that comes out during this month.  Ask your veterinarian for advice on keeping your pet’s teeth clean.  Dental disease is not just about bad breath; your pet’s whole body health care is at stake.

http://www.myvnn.com/page.asp?id=39&media_type=11&story_id=73

 

 

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