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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Missing Teeth in Your Pets – Should You Be Worried?

If you’ve been paying attention to our Facebook page, you may already know that dogs are supposed to have 42 teeth, while cats should have 30. As we see here on nearly a daily basis, many of our pets don’t read the textbooks, and are “missing” teeth. Similarly, we frequently see patients with extra teeth, which often times is more concerning. Unfortunately, it is impossible to tell if a tooth is in fact “missing” by simply opening your pets mouth.

Many of our pets are born with fewer than the expected number of teeth, more notably in dogs than in cats. For some breeds, this has been a result of adaptation of necessity as their jaw shape has changed from the historical canine. Such examples include brachycephalic breeds, or breeds with a very short muzzle – due to a reduction in the size of their upper (maxilla) and lower (mandible) jaw, they literally do not have the space to accommodate the normal number of teeth. Even with reduced teeth numbers, they still experience crowding and rotation of teeth, which can significantly increase the rate at which periodontal (dental) disease occurs.

Missing tooth found on dental radiographs.When we see a patient for the first time, if missing teeth are noted on the physical examination, it may be recommended to take a dental radiograph of the area where the missing tooth should reside. While some patients are truly missing teeth, as discussed above. others may have unerupted teeth that are developing underneath the gumline. If left untreated, these unerupted teeth will cause serious concerns for your pet. As a tooth develops underneath the gumline, there is a special layer of epithelial cells that form enamel, the protective outer surface of the tooth. As a tooth erupts through the gumline, this layer is normally removed through abrasion. However, if a tooth develops underneath the gumline, and fails to erupt, this layer of epithelial cells with start to produce a fluid-filled cyst around the tooth. This fluid development can start as quickly as a few weeks after maturation of the tooth, all the way up to a few years. This is what is called a dentigerous cyst. As this cyst expands, it destroys the surrounding bone (jaw bones), often permanently damaging surrounding tooth structures in the process. The reason that dental radiographs are so important is that we need to detect these cases immediately. Otherwise, clinical signs are not apparent until very late in the disease process, often as the cyst bursts through the gingiva or as surrounding teeth begin to fall out. Treatment for dentigerous cysts involves surgical removal of the unerupted tooth, and curetting (scraping) of any cyst tissue that surrounds the tooth.

The preferred treatment for this condition, however, is prevention! For this reason, if your pet is of maturity around seven to eight months of age, and has teeth that are unaccounted for, we may strongly recommend dental radiographs.

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Cases of Leptospirosis in the GTA

Westbridge Veterinary Hospital has received reports of leptospirosis cases from other veterinary hospitals in the GTA.

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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