You Make The Diagnosis: Dog With Damaged Teeth

Last Saturday, I met a wonderful terrier mix.  He greeted me with warmth and affection until he realized who I was . . . THE VET.  He promptly crawled under the chair occupied by his owner.  What a smart boy! 

When I opened his mouth I noticed damage to his teeth.  Review the photo and note the worn incisors (front smaller teeth), upper and lower canines (often called the fangs) and the premolars (teeth with two or more roots behind the canines).  What caused this damage?   


Diagnosis:  Worn teeth from chewing objects

This dog loves to chew, in fact I would call him a chewing fanatic.  He chews up bones and hooves in a matter of minutes. If he had been chewing on his own body because of severe allergies, the wear pattern would be different.  (See prior case at–dog-with-worn-teeth.aspx.)  Unfortunately, this habit is wearing out his teeth. 

For dogs who love to chew, I recommend Kongs and CET Chews which are more tooth friendly instead of bones, hooves, rawhide chews and pig’s ears.  I would also limit the use of tennis balls to special occasions.  The outer surface feels soft but is actually quite abrasive.  Add a little dirt or other debris and it becomes rough as sandpaper.   Note:  I am headed to Asia until August 7th so there will be a short break in the blog while I am away. 

Published by kristennelsondvm

Dr. Kristen Nelson grew up on a farm in Watertown, Minn., where she developed a deep love for animals of all kinds. She received a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine. Kris then completed a small-animal internship at the prestigious Animal Medical Center in New York City. In addition to writing and speaking, she cares for small and exotic animals in Scottsdale, Az. Dr. Nelson is widely quoted in the media. Her credits include Ladies’ Home Journal, USA TODAY, the Los Angeles Times and numerous radio and television interviews. Dr. Nelson has written two books, Coated With Fur: A Vet’s Life and Coated With Fur: A Blind Cat’s Love. Kris and her husband Steve share their home with rescued cats, birds and a dog.