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Veterinarian opening the mouth of a dog

Pet Diagnostic Imaging – Dental Radiology

Many tooth conditions can be missed without dental X- rays. High resolution digital dental radiographs show the tooth pulp, roots, crown and surrounding bone of each tooth with dramatic clarity. This information helps the veterinarian uncover hidden conditions such as tooth abscesses, cavities and fractures which can cause pain in your pet. Often the owner is not aware of the problem since most animals continue to eat.


 
 

Teeth with tartar and plaque and an x-ray image of teeth with arrows

Above left, tartar and plaque covers the base of the tooth and hides potential problems. Above right, on X-ray the arrows outline an area where we can clearly see that all of the jaw bone and associated gum line has receded from the root of the tooth leaving it exposed to disease and pain.

X-ray images of a fractured tooth with a root still intact and remodelled roots of a tooth

FIGURE 1 (left) and FIGURE 2 (right): In some patients the teeth can be so affected that the crown can actually break away leaving exposed roots (Figure 1 above). There is pain from the tooth disease, the fracture of the tooth, and then the exposed root fragment. There can be remodelling over time (Fig 2), as long as the infection is under control. Digital dental radiographs clearly identify these situations and are essential in helping to plan for the ideal treatment for your pet.

X-ray image with arrows pointing at root lesions in a cat

FIGURE 3: These are examples of typical root lesions found in cats. Note that these teeth appeared perfectly normal on physical exam. At our hospital we recommend full mouth dental radiographs for all cats because of this. Most pets that are over 6 years of age have some form of dental disease. It is instinctive for pets not to show pain; therefore a thorough examination is required.

Collage of digital x-ray images from a dog’s mouth

Take a look at this collage of digital images from a dog’s mouth and try and decide which teeth are abnormal.

Disease can affect each complex part of the tooth listed above, either alone or in combination. Without radiographs, we are only seeing and diagnosing disease in the enamel and partially the crown.

A dental radiograph and actual photograph of the same tooth after extraction

Compare the image on the left, a dental radiograph, with the image on the right, an actual photograph of the same tooth after extraction. Note that the tooth was cut in half to facilitate easier extraction. This is a great example of the fine detail that can be obtained with dental radiography. Take a look at the picture below:

A tooth intact in the mandible prior to extraction

It is a photograph of the same tooth, still intact in the mandible, prior to extraction. Note that visually, above the gum line, there are no abnormalities, and the tooth would otherwise appear to be vital. It is a great display of the importance of dental radiography, as left untreated, this was a very painful tooth.

Click here to view our dental radiography video banner

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Dog thinking about ticks and fleas

Year-round protection means more peace of mind!

“Tick season” used to mean spring/summer/fall, with a break over the winter – the colder weather meant that we could take a break from worrying about these pesky bugs and the diseases they can transmit. But in the last few years, we’ve seen a change creeping up on us, with the weather staying warm later into the season, and spring arriving earlier each year – and the bugs are loving it! You may have already heard us talking about how any day that the temperature is above the freezing point, ticks are potentially active. This past year, we had days above 0°C in all 12 months! Ticks aren’t killed by the cold, they simply go dormant, waiting until it’s warm enough to come back out – so last year, even January and February had days warm enough for ticks to be active! This means that we are now recommending that all dogs (and cats that go outdoors) take advantage of year-round flea and tick protection. There are several options, our first choice being an all-in-one that protects against fleas, ticks, and heartworm, as well as providing regular deworming against roundworms. One pill, once a month – what could be simpler? If your pet is already on a monthly preventative, all you need to do is pick up a refill and continue throughout the winter months. If your pet hasn’t yet started on comprehensive parasite prevention, we’re happy to answer any questions you may have and set you up with the best option for your pet. What does this mean for testing? The 4DX test that we recommend most commonly screens for heartworm disease, Lyme, Ehrlichia, and Anaplasma. Heartworm is transmitted by mosquitoes (so every dog in Ontario is potentially at risk – at Westbridge we treat a few cases every year!), and the others are all transmitted via tick bites. We have seen an increase in Lyme-positive dogs in the last few years, one of the reasons we are recommending some of these changes. For better early detection and the safety of your pet, we are recommending annual 4DX testing for all dogs. This simple blood test can be done at any time, although the optimal time is in the spring. Catching disease early is key to successful treatment – and no matter how careful you are with preventative medications, there is always some risk of infection. As always, our veterinarians and registered veterinary technicians are available to answer any questions you may have about the best options for your pet. Email us at info@westbridgevet.com, or call us at 905-285-0002

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Last updated: December 17, 2020

Dear Clients,

With recent changes to restrictions on businesses, we are pleased to advise that effective May 19, 2020 some restrictions on veterinary practices have been lifted. Based on these changes, below are some important updates to our operating policies.

1. WE CAN NOW SEE ALL CASES BY APPOINTMENT ONLY

This includes vaccines, wellness exams, blood work, heartworm testing, spays and neuters, dental services, and more!

2. SAFETY MEASURES TO KEEP EVERYONE SAFE

3. OPERATING HOURS

We are OPEN with the following hours:

- Monday to Friday: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
- Saturday: 8:00 am - 1:00 pm
- Sunday: CLOSED

4. NEW PET OWNERS

Have you welcomed a new furry family member to your home? We’d love to meet them! Visit our Must Know New Pet Owner Information page for useful resources and helpful recommendations for new pet owners.

Thank you for your patience and understanding and we look forward to seeing you and your furry family members again!

Your dedicated team at Westbridge Veterinary Hospital