The Story of Bad Breath…..
When my eldest son was very little we read every day together. Being in the animal field and an animal lover, always enjoyed reading dog related stories to him before bed. One of our favorite books was a story of a dog named Hally Tosis. This book made us crack up! Hally Tosis was about a dog that saved her family from burglars by knocking them out with her bad breath. It was a cute story, but little did I realize.
Speed forward about ten years. As of today I have been in the animal field for a total of 17 years. I have seen the field grow and flourish in ways that I have never even thought of. We now do surgeries of all sorts, offer life saving drugs to our animals, and have specialty doctors for all different kinds of ailments. One particular field that has grown leaps and bounds is dentistry. Right along side with human dentistry, animal doctors are now seeing the great importance of dental health. Dental health effects all different kinds of areas in the body. Signs and symptoms of oral problems, like the bad breath of Hally Tosis, should not be overlooked.
On that note, I finally decided to perform a dental on my very old friend and family member, my 16 year old pitbull, Coco. Coco is very special to my family. In the past year I noticed that she had been doing a lot of drooling. I had overlooked it due to the fact that she’s always been kind of a drooler. She always ate great and showed no signs of oral discomfort. Even so, the smell coming from her mouth was literally horrendous. When the family stopped wanting to cuddle her as much, I knew something needed to be done.
I brought Coco in to see Dr Crittenden As usual her bloodwork looked great and despite her old lady ailments, like her arthritis, she was overall healthy and we got the green light for a dental. She also had a localized mass on her arm so the plan was to remove it at that time as well. Why not, knock two birds with one stone. We scheduled her a few short days later for surgery with Dr Cody.
The morning I brought her in I was nervous, yet ready to get rid of some of that tarter that was causing all the funky smell. Alison (my trusty sister, and technician) helped Dr Cody get her settled under anesthesia. Dr Cody removed the lump first with no issues. Her heart rate was solid, her temperature was great, and fluids were administered to keep her hydrated through the whole procedure. I got the go ahead from both Alison and Dr. Cody to do the dental cleaning myself.
The tartar was awful, even though I failed to mention this is not her first dental. She had the procedure done two years ago but she’s not much of a chewer anymore, so I knew this was going to be the case. I also have not had success with brushing my dog’s teeth. Sheesh! I tell you I should have tried a little harder on that one! Anyway, I cleaned up one side of her teeth no real issues. When I got to the other side and I began to clean and the tater came clean with no problems as well. I got to the back of her mouth and had to hold her cheek open to reach far back and noticed a thickened area inside. Sure enough, Dr Cody took a look and it appeared to be some sort of mass. We took a biopsy of the lump and finished up her dental and got her into recovery.
The next few days in recovery the entire staff was there for us. All three doctors were checking on us and answering any questions that I had. The technicians and receptionists were all there by my side rooting us along for a speedy recovery. I can’t believe how blessed animals are to have three amazing doctors and a slew of technicians and animal professionals to look after them!
Long story short, Coco has made a decent recovery. The teeth are cleaner and my girl loves eating canned food. The mass we found in her mouth is a pretty aggressive type of cancer. I’m not sure of what the future holds. What I do know is that if I never did the dental procedure, I would have never found the cancer. I’m not sure how we will proceed with treatments in the future, but the importance of dental health really hit home this time. As for the story of Hally Tosis, maybe she should have had a dental cleaning too.