Severe Dental Disease in a Dog

A thorough examination of the mouth should be part of every physical examination of all animals. I never know what to expect when I lift the lip or open a pet’s mouth. Recently, I lifted the upper lip of a dog and found severe dental disease. The upper incisors were infected and the gum had receded so far that I could see most of the roots. (See picture below)

k9 Teeth in place

The teeth were hanging by a thread. When removed, I could look into the dog’s nose!

Extracted Incisors closeup

I extracted all four of these teeth, cleaned out the infection and then closed the area with a gum flap. The dog made a complete recovery.  Before the surgery, this dog licked his lips and nose constantly. Now, he only licks after eating to clean his nose.

Dental disease is a serious problem in pets. It can lead to excruciating pain.  Please check your pet’s mouth regularly to catch problems early. Also, pay attention to abnormal behaviors such as excessive licking, biting, chewing or rubbing. Your pet may be telling you they have a problem and need help.

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.