Date:   23 August, 2008    
Focus: Small animals - dogs, cats, hamsters & rabbits.


BE KIND TO PETS Community Education Project supported by Toa Payoh Vets and Asia USA Realty. Written: Mar 8, 2005. Updated: Aug 23, 2008.
Dr Sing Kong Yuen, BVMS (Glasgow), MRCVS

Bringing veterinary medicine and surgery anatomy alive to a vet student studying in Australia

SMELLY BREATH IN OLDER DOGSSingapore dog - recovering from anaesthetic

Owners all over the world do not like the idea of the dog losing 14 teeth but decayed and loose teeth cause pain and suffering to the dog as well as spreading bacterial infections and toxins into the internal organs including the heart valves. 

Many owners prefer dental scaling and let the loose teeth be retained on the false assumption that the dog could still eat if he has teeth. 

The veterinarian may need to have a frank and long talk with the owner before extraction of any tooth to prevent misunderstanding.

It is not possible to telephone the owner when the dog is under general anaesthesia and several decayed teeth need to be extracted.

The rotting gums and teeth cause a bacterial build up. First this bacteria and food debris form a plaque on the surface of the teeth. As more plaque is laid down, it becomes tartar (calculus) - hard brown concrete-like deposit. The bacteria destroys the structure supporting the tooth.

The tooth becomes loose while the gums get infected, causing gingivitis. Soon the dog has bad breath as the disease progresses further to become periodontal disease.

Bacterial infection goes to the throat, heart valves and other parts of the body making the dog ill. 

The dog now suffers a big tooth ache. Bad breath is now more common but surprisingly, most Singapore older owners tolerate the halitosis.

Communication before teeth extraction with the owner prevents lots of misunderstanding. 

Many Singapore dogs more than 5 years old have bad teeth. If you want your dog's teeth to last for a life-time, a yearly dental check up will be best To keep the teeth healthy. You can brush his teeth daily and ensure that he eats hard food like dry feed.  Avoid soft food but this is not a practical advice.

When your dog has bad breath, you may need to seek dental scaling or treatment promptly to prevent any loss of teeth.

Good dental health means that your old dog lives longer, enjoys a higher quality of life and enjoys eating his food without pain.

 Nothing is more educational than vivid pictures (real decayed teeth) to educate the owner on maintaining  healthy teeth for his or her best friend.
Pictures of canine dental work
at Toa Payoh Vets taken by Dr Sing in 2005.

Singapore dog - decayed teeth extracted
The dog will be given a gas anaesthetic delivered through an endotracheal tube (breathing tube). This brings the gas and oxygen into the lungs, making the dog unconscious and not feeling panicky or painful during dental work.
Singapore dog - decayed teeth extracted
The decayed loose teeth are extracted. Leaving the loose teeth behind just will not benefit the dog as bad breath recur after a few weeks.

However the Owner may be distressed if he or she is not informed earlier of the loss of so many teeth.
 Singapore dog - decayed teeth extracted
Tartar is removed and the teeth are given an ultrasonic scaling and polishing.   
Singapore dog - decayed teeth extracted
All decayed teeth have been extracted
in this dog.

Toa Payoh Vets