We remain open to provide care for your pets. We are following the direction of government and regulatory authorities and have implemented hospital and visit protocols to keep both you and our team safe. For regular updates on our hours and visit protocols, please follow our social media platforms.

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Cat Dental Care

We take the oral health of our patients very seriously. Dental problems left untreated can be very painful for your cat. Problems in the mouth can also affect other organs such as kidneys and the heart.

What is involved in a dental cleaning procedure?

Dental cleanings or COHAT (complete oral health assessment and treatments) are done under general anesthesia, using a combination of analgesics (pain killers) and sedatives, along with an inhalant gas to maintain anesthesia. This is the only way to perform a thorough oral examination, which always includes full mouth dental radiographs. Akin to the iceberg analogy, the crown or visible portion of the tooth is just a small part of the overall tooth anatomy, with over 50% residing underneath the gum line (the tooth roots). Once every tooth has been examined radiographically to determine whether any hidden disease is present, each tooth is thoroughly cleaned around its entire circumference, both above (subgingival) and below (supragingival) the gum line. While cleaning off visible tartar gives the impression of a clean mouth, it is the buildup of plaque and tartar underneath the gum line that contributes significantly to dental disease. Therefore, thorough subgingival cleaning is arguably the most important part of the COHAT procedure for teeth that do not require extraction.

What are the signs of dental problems in cats?

Cats are notorious for not displaying outward signs of oral disease and pain; a survival mechanism developed over thousands of years of evolution. Frequent oral examinations can be prudent in the early detection of dental disease, including tartar build-up, bleeding, and/or redness of the gums (gingivitis). In some cases, though, cats will display subtle outward signs of oral disease, including pawing at their face, shifting food to one side of their mouth for chewing, drooling, halitosis (bad breath), or ceasing chewing altogether and swallowing food whole.

Are some feline breeds more susceptible than others?

For the most part, all breeds of cats are equally susceptible to periodontal (dental) disease. However, brachycephalic breeds (think breeds with a “smushy” face like the Persian, Himalayan, etc.) may be more predisposed due to the crowding of teeth in their shorter muzzles (jaws). Some studies suggest that certain Asian breeds, namely the Siamese, are more predisposed to feline tooth resorptive lesions, but the data on this is not conclusive and definitive.

What is feline tooth resorption?

Feline tooth resorption is a disease process that occurs commonly in cats, with up to 70% of cats having at least one tooth affected throughout their lifetime. It is a condition where for reasons still currently unknown, a tooth in the cat’s mouth spontaneously erodes and is destroyed beyond the point of repair. It can affect any tooth within the cat’s mouth, and the speed at which the tooth will be resorbed is unpredictable. It is not known whether this condition is painful to cats when it occurs completely underneath the gum line, though when the lesions become exposed to the outside environment (e.g. above the gum line), these lesions are incredibly painful and cause a high degree of uncomfortable sensitivity.


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COVID-19: Additional measures we are taking

Dear Clients,

We are all aware of the concerns and rapidly changing situation with COVID-19. Due to the close public contact that our work requires, we have taken necessary measures to protect our clients, our staff and work hard to ensure we can continue to provide excellent care for our patients.

The following changes are effective as of Wednesday, March 18, 2020:

1. If you have travelled outside Canada or come in contact with anyone who has travelled outside Canada in the past 3 weeks, or if you are feeling unwell, (coughing, fever, fatigue, etc.), please contact our clinic. We will be more than happy to reschedule your appointment or help arrange to see your pet safely.

2. We are currently operating a "closed-door" policy to protect our clients and staff. When you arrive, please remain in your vehicle and use your cell phone to call us at 905-285-0002. We will take a history by phone, and bring your pet into the clinic for an examination with the veterinarian. We will then return to your vehicle with your pet and you will get another call from the Doctor to discuss our recommended treatment plan.

3. We are continuing to accept appointments for urgent or sick pets, as well as time-sensitive puppy/kitten vaccinations. All other services will be scheduled for a later time.

4. We are still OPEN with the following hours: Monday to Friday 10:00 am - 6:00 pm & Saturday from 8:00 am - 1:00 pm.

5. If you are ordering food or medications, please allow 4-6 business days as our suppliers are dealing with increased demand and are trying to fill orders as quickly as possible. We will advise you as soon as your order arrives. Please call us when you arrive to pick up your order, but do not enter the clinic. Our staff will bring your order to your car and take payment from your vehicle.

6. For the time being, we are not accepting cash as payment. Credit cards and debit card payments are still available.

7. Following the recommendations of our government and medical experts, we are doing our best to practice social distancing within the constraints of our jobs. We have taken these measures to avoid both contracting and facilitating the spread of this virus.

Thank you for helping us be diligent for everyone's safety. As we have heard from all levels of government, the situation is fluid, and any updates will be provided as changes occur.

Your dedicated team at Westbridge Veterinary Hospital