I faced a similar decision a couple of weeks ago when my husband returned from taking Teddy our eight-year old yellow Labrador retriever to the vet.
Our vet who had been keeping an eye on Teddy’s teeth for some time now recommended we have his teeth professionally cleaned. Teddy had developed a mild form of gingivitis. His teeth which had begun showing signs of plaque when he was only two year old were now brown and his gums were red and swollen. We received a quote of $412 without x-rays, $599 with for this procedure. The x-rays were needed to determine if any teeth needed to be extracted. The cost of teeth extraction was extra. $600!!! The cost of teeth cleaning had gone up quite a bit in ten years.
We looked at Teddy’s teeth ourselves:
and decided to go ahead with the procedure. Our vet thought Teddy may be in pain – we had noticed there were times when Teddy ate slower and more tentatively than usual. In addition, not having them cleaned now could lead to other health problems later on. The bacteria from gingivitis could travel through Teddy’s bloodstream contributing to heart, kidney or liver disease. His teeth would also continue to deteriorate which could lead to infection, teeth loss and difficulty eating.
His x-ray’s detected one bad tooth that had to be extracted. The upper right 12 incisor was fractured and its pulp was exposed. Not removing it could lead to an abysses tooth and damage to the teeth surrounding it.
The cost of the procedure included pre-anesthetic blood work. These tests checked Teddy’s blood sugar, kidney values, and red blood cell count. They were to detect abnormalities that could affect anesthesia. He also received intravenous fluids during anesthesia. These were given to combat a decrease in blood pressure which sometimes results from the anesthesia drugs. In addition, an intravenous catheter allows immediate administration of emergency drugs if there is an adverse reaction from the anesthesia.
Here is the break down of costs for Teddy’s professional teeth cleaning including tooth extraction:
........ ........ ........
|Anesthesia and IV Catheter||43.70|
|Pain Injection (2)||48.40|
|Scale and Polish Teeth||81.70|
|Day-Care Kennel Use||20.60|
|IV Fluids During Surgery||21.60|
|Radio graph Dental Full Mouth||130.00|
|Chem Panel w/Electrolytes||72.82|
|CBC (Complete Blood Count)||49.30|
|Rimadyl 100mg Chewable (4)||18.20|
|Non-Surgical Tooth Extraction||35.00|
We are to begin Brushing Teddy’s teeth in 2 weeks. For best results, we should brush them 3-4 times a week.
Buck our ten-year old golden retriever has never had his teeth professionally cleaned. He hasn’t needed it. We’ve always brushed both our dog’s teeth once a week. Buck does chew on sticks more often and has a morning routine that includes chewing on his Galileo bone which may have helped prevent tartar buildup.
In hindsight, I should have paid more attention when my friend was contemplating whether or not to have her dog’s teeth cleaned. Dogs are expensive, much more expensive than I ever could have imagined before owning one. Though I do think our vet is on the high side and some of the above services may not have been necessary, i.e. a charge for day-care kennel use I do want my dogs to be healthy and receive good veterinary care.
Have you ever had your dog’s teeth professionally cleaned? Are there any home remedies you practice to keep your dog’s teeth clean? What about the cost of Teddy’s professional cleaning? Was $600 for this procedure low, about average or kind of high?