24 March 2010

Gustavo has really crappy teeth.

He probably had distemper as a puppy. There's no enamel on them, and when he opens his mouth he looks like an alligator that went up against a backhoe. And he's only 3 years old. His canines look like teensy tiny elephant tusks, with little balls planted on the ends that keep the tusks from impaling the elephant handler when elephants go wild, only causing massive head injuries instead.

If I was a really good dog owner, I would brush them every day. Gustavo would have his own little toothbrush in the bathroom, in our little toothbrush cup decorated with Canadian mounties and ponies. Every morning he'd hope up on the sink and I'd get the liver flavoured dental paste out and brush away and sing him a song, probably Frosty the Snowman.

Instead, I just throw him a lot of bones to chew on and hope for the best. The other dogs have shiny white teeth. I don't worry about theirs.

We visited a new vet just for Gustavo teeth. I am pretty lucky when it comes to vets. I am lucky and they are horribly abused. They come out to work to ride their horses and frequently get lame or blinking or barfing dogs shoved in their laps instead. Let's just say my dogs aren't very used to going to the doctor's office. Neither am I.

When we do go, I always get sticker shock. In the horse world, trainers have to be junior vets much of the time. We don't take horses to the doctor for every little thing. Just today I had to deal with sore feet, puffy legs, swollen eye, weird coughing, a weird looking hair issue cut thing on a back foot, a sore back, and a completely unrelated weird bump on a back. All of these I triage and treat and decide if and when the real doc needs to come out and take a look. With the dogs, it's sort of the same thing. I have an arsenal of meds and dole out as I see fit. We save the docs for the big guns, like crappy teeth.

And crappy teeth it was. I very much liked the new vet, who has a modest office near my house and prices that didn't freak me out. And one of my agility pals works there as a tech. You all know her. She's a sheltie lady with a million MACH's and VERY fancy fingernails. This made me feel happy and not quite so worried, that Gustavo would be with a friend during his traumatic day at the doctor's.

And traumatic it was. I warned them, he has more strength and wiggles than any dog I've ever tried to hold on to and HE WILL TRY TO ESCAPE. He's sort of like a whole bag of feral cats, all rolled into cute little Gustavo. You would never, ever believe that he only weighs 11lbs when you are trying to hold him still. When the doc pulled blood the day before, holy smokes. What a project. So today, even sedated, to get that IV in, apparently many techs and the docs and then the Spanish speaking tech to see if that helped and then 3 shaved legs and I dunno how many attempts later, poor Goo ended up with clean and polished teeth. Very impressive teeth, in a horrible and frightening way. Don't see many like his, and likely in the future we will be meeting the special genuine dentist for dogs.

Sure was nice to know he was in good hands, and Crissy called me with updates and to tell me how he was doing all day. And that compared to Ruby, who was a genuine feral dog and has terrorized Nurse Crissy before, he exceeds all expectations and then some and could I please train my dogs. I was worried all day long. Was so easy and quiet to just have the girl dogs all day, they are so, trained, compared to him. He's a little out of it, he had a field trip to the dump with Gary post anaesthesia and came back to me tonight at home, a little woozy but with sparkling clean chompers. And boy oh boy, was I happy to see him.


Cynthia Blue said...

Ugh, teeth, what a pain... I don't brush my dogs' teeth either. If I did that with all 7 dogs all I'd be doing all day is brushing teeth and dremmeling nails. :p

tundrah said...

We have the liver flavored toothpaste and multiple brushed rolling around in drawers.

I am good about keeping my dogs up-to-date on all health things, except for teeth. However, I am lucky enough to have a SO who loves to brush their teeth. Don't ask why, its bizarre, but I happily let him do it.

Even then its only a 1-2x a month deal. Otherwise our teeth program consists of hard bones, kibble, random veggies and hope for the best... So far so good.

team small dog said...

Yeah, I've never had a problem with dog teeth before. I think I had Timmy's cleaned once. Otterpop and Ruby have nice, white teeth and hopefully they stay like that.

One look in Gustavo's mouth though, when I first got him, I had this feeling, this was going to be a lifetime of dental bills. It was a fun party trick trick to show all my vet friends for the first time. Every vet that sees them goes, OH MY GOD, those are some of the worst teeth I've ever seen. Poor little guy.

Brett Williams said...

Pretty scary teeth for a dog? I wonder if you cuddle with that pet. You should take him to some sort of a dentist in huntersville nc or a dental vet, is that what it's called? Goodluck mate!

Unknown said...

I just read through the entire article of yours and it was quite good. This is a great article thanks for sharing this informative information. I will visit your blog regularly for some latest post.
dental oakville