Pet Focus: Lacy Gets Her Dentistry

Lacy is an adorable 12-year-old Border Collie cross who came to Morinville Vet Clinic after visiting several different vet clinics. Her biggest problem was that her teeth had been slowly getting worse over the last few years. She has needed to have her teeth cleaned for several months at least. This has been a real problem for her owner.

As much as Lacy’s owner loves her, she just is unable to afford to give her the care she needs. Since her owner is on a disability pension, she does not have enough money to do any more than buy enough pain medication to make Lacy comfortable for a few weeks. This just allows the infection in Lacy’s mouth to get progressively worse. Nobody is happy about this situation.

Fortunately, there are people out there to help. The staff at Morinville Vet Clinic knew we had to find a way to help Lacy out. We contacted Tails of Help, a group that just started in Alberta this year. The role of Tails of Help is to assist pet owners on pension-fixed incomes. When we gave them all the information on Lacy and her owner, they were happy to help.

The first step for Lacy was to have a blood test. Twelve is certainly a senior citizen for a dog; so, we had to know that she was healthy enough to have an anesthetic. Luckily, all the test results were good. Lacy was ready to have her teeth properly taken care of. Until the day that was scheduled, Lacy was given antibiotics to keep her infected mouth under control.

On the morning of her procedure, Lacy came to Morinville with an empty stomach (anesthesia can cause nausea). After her initial check and sedation, Lacy was started on intravenous fluids. The intravenous line gave us a place to inject anesthesia as well as giving fluids to keep her blood pressure up.

Once Lacy was asleep, our technician could clean away all the tartar, the mineralized deposit embedded on the teeth. This tartar was full of bacteria, which had penetrated past the gums to cause abscesses in the roots of the teeth. After the tartar was gone, we could check each tooth and find out which ones were too infected to stay. In the end, Lacy needed to have nineteen teeth removed that day. Add to that the fact that Lacy had already had five teeth fall out, and Lacy ended up with less than ten teeth in her mouth. However, all those teeth were clean and healthy. After her good teeth were polished and treated with fluoride, Lacy was allowed to wake up and go home with pain medicine and antibiotics.

There is no way that Lacy would have been able to have her infected mouth dealt with if there had not been a group like Tails of Help to assist. Her owner and the staff at Morinville Vet Clinic were thankful they could help. And, of course, Lacy is glad to have a mouth that does not hurt.

Written by Morinville Veterinary Clinic