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Top Reasons for Pet Declines
Dental Cleanings

Top Reasons for Pet Declines

Health and behavioral issues come into play when declining a pet for a non-anesthetic dental cleaning.

There are many factors that will determine whether the pet is a good candidate for non-anesthetic cleanings.

  • If a dog or cat has a history of seizures and cannot stay calm or relaxed during a dental cleaning, the pet may be declined. Anxiety can be a trigger for seizures.
  • If your dog or cat is experiencing pain, we will decline him/she.
  • Pets that are limping, crying, trying to bite, or whimpering before or during the procedure are signs that a dental cleaning without anesthesia is not safe for your dog or cat.
Tip icon

Every pet parent needs to complete a medical history form for their pets before an appointment.

Dog

Behavioral issues that are a decline

If a dog or cat is anxious or aggressive, we will decline that pet and ask the owner to work with their veterinarian on a treatment plan.

Anxiety

The pet mustn’t have a negative experience during their dental cleaning, and an anxious animal may thrash or refuse to be safely restrained.

Aggression

Aggressive dogs that may bite pose a serious risk for our technicians. If the pet tries to bite out of fear or stress, staff will decline the dog.

10 Oral health issues that are a decline

1

Advanced periodontal disease

(Level 3 and 4 stages)

Oral health issuesFor patients with advanced periodontal disease, the treatment goal is removing plaque and calculus from the teeth. General anesthesia is necessary to provide access to the subgingival areas, where bacteria can contribute to local and sometimes systemic inflammation. 

2

Mobile teeth (canines, molars, and carnassials)

Losing adult teeth is a sign of advanced gum disease. This can lead to serious complications, and mobile teeth must be looked at by a veterinarian. Mobile teeth can be painful.

3

Oronasal fistula

Oral health issuesAn oronasal fistula is an opening between the oral and nasal cavity. Food and bacteria can enter the fistula and cause pneumonia. This needs to be addressed by a vet. 

4

Cavities

Oral health issuesDental cavities in pets require an exam from a vet. This is always a decline. As the tooth breaks down, it poses a risk of infection. Cavities are a source of pain for pets. 

5

Dental fractures

Oral health issuesDogs can easily fracture a tooth chewing on a bone. Your dog may be in pain, and you won’t even know it until the veterinarian gets an X-ray. HealthySmiles’ dental experts will be able to immediately identify a fracture and send pet owners to their vet. 

6

Oral masses

Oral health issuesIf a mass is seen, HealthySmiles’ dental experts will let the pet owners know so they can schedule an appointment with their vet as soon as possible as any oral mass needs to be evaluated. 

7

Tooth root abscess

Oral health issuesA tooth root abscess is when a severe infection develops around the root of a tooth. This may develop in association with periodontal disease. This is very painful and needs to be treated immediately by a vet. 

8

Furcations

Oral health issuesFurcation disease is produced by periodontal disease. Portions of the root are exposed and susceptible to damage to the furcation area of the tooth (see pic). 

9

Gingival hyperplasia

Oral health issuesHealthySmiles’ dental experts will let pet parents know if they see Gingival Hyperplasia. This condition needs oral antibiotics and, in some cases, surgical intervention. 

10

Pyorrhea

Oral health issuesThis is an advanced state of gum disease that can lead to tooth loss or bone loss if left untreated. A vet will likely need to prescribe antibiotics, and an oral surgeon may need to be involved. 

Dog

6 Special declining considerations

These six health issues must be discussed during the initial consultation. The pet’s veterinarian will need to give our staff a written consent for a non-anesthetic dental cleaning before proceeding. The dental may not be do-able.

1. Megaesophagus

According to VCA Hospitals, megaesophagus is considered a combination disorder in which the esophagus (the tube that carries food and liquid between the mouth and stomach) dilates (gets larger) and loses motility (its ability to move food into the stomach). Vomiting may be an issue for the pet.

2. Seizures

If a dog or cat has a history of seizures and cannot stay calm or relaxed during the dental cleaning, they’ll be declined.

3. Blood disorders and immune diseases (e.g., Thrombocytopenia)

Blood disorders and any immune disorders are an automatic decline of non-anesthetic dental cleanings.

Tip icon

Pets with pale gums are a medical emergency, and they must be seen by a vet immediately.

4. Advanced congestive heart failure

Heart disease is a condition that may cause a non-anesthetic dental to be declined by your veterinarian or oncologist. The condition may cause symptoms like coughing to worsen, and many medications may also make this procedure difficult for the pet.

5. Excessive movement

Pets that aren’t able to be safely restrained are not good candidates. The pet may injure themselves or the dental expert.

6. Collapsing trachea

Tracheal collapse in dogs is characterized by incomplete formation or weakening of the trachea’s cartilaginous rings, resulting in the trachea’s flattening. The pet would need to stay still and calm while being restrained.

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Christy Caplan

Christy Caplan has over 10 years of experience covering the pet industry. As a certified veterinary technician, she uses her knowledge to inform stories on health and wellness topics.

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