(Pet) Anesthesia-Free Dental Cleaning

Cats I believe are also altogether more tricky in terms of dental procedures. I saw a new vet at an old office recently and while discussing scheduling a dental cleaning for my remaining cat with him, he noted he wouldn’t be doing it himself. He was an emergency vet by background who had just started learning the general practice vet trade and he noted cat jaws are quite a bit more fragile, so he still wasn’t comfortable doing anything more than observing/assisting at this point.

Hope all went well - although the essential oils thing smells a lot like Woo woo. I may be old school but I’d tend to agree with your teaching hospital.

Acepromazine DOES NOT paralyze animals or people. It’s actually quite mild compared to most sedatives that are used. It takes away anxiety and a very nervous animal can get a lot without having it change its behavior. I think the poster was thinking of succinylcholine and similar paralytics. No vet would every give that to an animal without general anesthesia because it paralyzes the respiratory muscles and the animal would die if it wasn’t being ventilated through an endotracheal tube.

I would never have teeth cleaned without anesthesia. Yes, there is risk, but that’s why you do the pre anesthesia bloodwork. For one, I wouldn’t want to freak my poor dog out. And for two, I wouldn’t want to deal with the freak out for every single vet visit, groomer visit, etc for the rest of said dog’s life. That said, I’ve always tried to piggyback it with something else that needs anesthesia.

It’s scheduled for tomorrow, but they left a reminder voice mail message on which they mentioned a ‘new policy:’ any dog with an asymptomatic Grade 1 (heart) murmur may or may not be ‘accepted,’ at the vet’s discretion.

Sam has occasionally had a Grade 1-2 murmur that – after a full cardiac workup – was definitively classed as ‘innocent.’ But that may be an issue.

We never hear it at home (my wife’s a Nurse Practitioner). It may just manifest under the stress of the vet visit.

That’s probably been the single most important aspect to me.

Sam is one of those dogs who has great difficulty on laminate and tile flooring. These clinical experiences are stressful for him. When we do have to take him to the vet, exactly what you said is always on my mind: how will I do this next time ?

So … I hear ya’.

My first world problem is that he’s quite healthy. No upcoming anesthesia procedures on the radar.

Maybe the vet that examines Sam will tell me that the tartar doesn’t even merit treating at this point, and this will be much ado about nothing.


Just to close the loop …

First, thanks to all who chimed in.

Just back from the cleaning.

It went just fine.

I did give him just under 1mg/lb of Benadryl about 1hr before show time, though I saw no obvious signs that it did anything to/for him.

There were three technicians and a vet present – all in a small corner of a large pet supply store. They (can) work on three dogs at a time, though they tend to help each other get the dog situated (on its back, between the legs of the tech) if needed.

The vet had me fill out the usual paperwork and did a cursory physical, and then asked direct questions about Sam’s health.

No problems.

His tartar was mild, so I suspect everything took about 35-45min. I participated in calming him/holding him still, so I got to watch every moment of the cleaning at point blank range.

I think they were very thorough and took good care of Sam. No worries there.

After the scaling and polishing, they cross-check each others’ work before having the vet do a final sign-off.

Sam’s teeth are in good shape.

Was it stressful for my beloved dog ? Sure. But so are his vet visits – particularly since they usually involve blood draws and/or vaccinations.

He doesn’t love any of this, and definitely has his issues with the hard floors (today’s cement floor being no exception).

But I’d do it again, and will likely plan on it in a year. Sam being a dog, by the time we left the store, he had forgotten all about it and had set his sights on the extra treats I’d put in the car :wink:

Bring a blanket or pad to put under him next time?

– glad it worked out OK. – I wonder whether they put the dogs on their backs because maybe it makes them stay still better? Sheep are put on their backs to be sheared for that reason.

Sorry. It’s a walking/traction phobia.

At home, we have rugs and yoga mats scattered liberally around the main level floors.

For the next vet visit, I’ve promised myself that I’d bring two yoga mats and keep putting one in front of the other to get him where he needs to go.

It’s a bit silly, but we all have our shit :wink:

I have to figure that’s a big chunk of it. It also seems to give the technicians a good angle of attack and working distance. They had two foam dog beds stacked on top of each other and butted up against a wall.

The tech sits on the dog beds with the dog between his outstretched legs, leans back against the wall, and holds the dog’s muzzle with one hand while working with the other.

Good human!