How Old is TOO OLD for a dental cleaning procedure?
Meet Jaguar, a 17 year old Shih Tzu. Jaguar's owner brought him to Dr. Garnett for evaluation of his mouth, which was bleeding and had a very foul odor. Upon exam, Dr. Garnett found multiple infected teeth and some broken crowns, revealing only roots coming out of the gum tissue. She felt that a dental cleaning with multiple extractions was imperative for Jaguar's health. The question was whether he was too old for an involved dental surgical procedure that could take hours. Should a dog of this age undergo that type of treatment at this time in his life?
The owner was asked about Jaguar's quality of life and owner reported that, although blind, he had a good quality of life and enjoyed time with her very much. A blood panel and urinalysis were performed and Dr. Garnett felt he was a good candidate for an involved dental procedure. She also felt that without the procedure, his health was definitely in jeopardy.
A dental cleaning was performed and a full set of x-rays was taken of Jaguar's teeth, showing multiple broken teeth as well as significant infection surrounding some tooth roots. Eighteen teeth were removed, and he was put on antibiotics for 2 weeks to be sure the infection was taken care of. An "after" picture of Jaguar's teeth is below.
Jaguar continues to do well over a year later, and he has a much more healthy mouth with no infection to slow him down.
Dental care for an elderly pet can be the greatest gift you can give to your friend.