Myths And Misconceptions Regarding Pet Oral Disease

A white dog with dark spots with tongue hanging out

Myths And Misconceptions Regarding Pet Oral Disease

The world is full of so many myths and misconceptions and Dr. Google has made life even more complex.  Give someone a platform with little evidence-based medical training and things can go sideways rather quickly.   Unfortunately, many veterinarians are ill trained regarding how to address oral disease.  They use old practices that have been debunked by research or even worse, ‘shotgun’ therapy just to placate a pet owner as they want something done to help their pet. At Your Pet Dentist, we’re here to help you identify the myths and misconceptions regarding pet oral disease.


Myths and Misconceptions Regarding Pet Oral Disease


The world is in an antibiotic crisis in that antibiotic resistance is at an all-time level.  I have experienced this first hand while practicing in Memphis at Memphis Veterinary Specialist with Tina Brown, a Board Certified Veterinary Dermatologist™.  She saw an alarming number of MRSA (methicillin resistant Staph aureus) with her dogs and cats.  These poor pets had been receiving antibiotics throughout their lives and now are paying the piper.  Infection can no longer be controlled with proper antibiotics.  We all know how this has affected people, especially children, with regard to the indiscriminate usage of antibiotics for ear infections and colds/flu symptoms.


How This Impacts Oral Health in Dogs & Cats


Let’s focus on my end of the patient, the mouth.  The AVDC (American Veterinary Dental College) of which I am a member as a Board Certified Veterinary Dentist™, has been advocating for years the judicious usage of antibiotics to address oral care.  Unfortunately, many vets believe that if you give a pet that has a tooth abscess, oral infection, or generalized inflammation the antibiotic will stop and remove the problem.  This is far from the truth.  You have to REMOVE or TREAT the cause of the infection by having your pet anesthetized, perform CBCT (Cone Beam CT) and/or dental radiographs and probe the oral cavity to identify the true cause of the pain and infection.  Once identified, the tooth or teeth are medically treated either by oral surgery, root canal therapy, or periodontal surgery.  Antibiotics alone WILL NOT REMOVE THE SOURCE OF DISEASE!

This is especially true for senior pets with pre-existing diseases such as heart, liver, and kidney disease.  Owners and veterinarians are afraid to anesthetize their senior pet due to the above-mentioned disease and then choose an antibiotic to help ‘calm the storm’ in the mouth.  This actually makes matters so much worse for your pet over time.  Don’t ask your vet for antibiotics and if your vet is recommending antibiotic therapy versus addressing the disease frontally (via anesthesia), seek a specialist’s help.


Dr. Martin Kennedy, Our Board-Certified Veterinary Anesthesiologist


We have a Board Certified Veterinary Anesthesiologist™ on our team and those difficult cases are the exact reason why he’s with us.  Check out out website regarding anesthetic cases that Dr. Kennedy should be involved in.  For more information regarding Dr. Kennedy, check here.



Final thoughts… Don’t take the easy way, as it doesn’t work.  If your dog or cat has oral pain, inflammation, or infection, seek professional care that removes that problem, not just masking it.  Otherwise, your pet suffers silently.  Do you want that to happen?


Barden Greenfield, DVM, DAVDC      Your Pet Dentist


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