Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Dog Dentist, Part II

So here's our lovely little lady, Pepper. She is now just over four months old. She still has those cracked teeth.

As Jen commented on the last post, why not go for a second opinion regarding the need to pull a couple of puppy teeth, for about $1700?

I do know people who take their pets to "country vets," looking for some sort of rational opinion as to exactly what is needed to keep the animal healthy and happy.

Jen, good suggestion! I did something else first, though. I took Peps to a vet located in a different neighborhood of Kookytown.

Now, this vet is located on the other side of the tracks if you get my drift, in a part of Kookytown known as Valier.

And you know what? The Valier vet said Pepper's teeth were just fine. No dental work required at all.

Valier Vet: "Yes, I see the cracked tooth."
Me: "Does it need extraction?"
VV: "Extrac...what?"
Me: " Should it come out?"
VV: "Ho ho ho! Why no! Whatever would give you such a silly idea? It's going to fall out in a month!"
Me: "But isn't she in pain?"
VV: (holding down Pepper who is trying to lick the vet to death) Doesn't seem to be. Ho! Whatever gives you the idea she's in pain?
Me: "But what about the infection?"
VV: "No infection. The pulp of the tooth is exposed. But the nerve has already died in preparation for the adult tooth to soon come in."
Me: "But ISN'T SHE AT RISK?" (the ominous threat mouthed by the last vet)
VV: "Of what?"
Valier Vet was now looking at me a bit curiously.
VV: "Look, you could remove the teeth. If this were your child, you might want to do that. Might. But instead, I've advise you to save your money and go out for dinner! Haaaa!!"

Ha ha ha, indeed.

Valier vet charged me $62 for the office visit.

So Jen, I may just seek out a country vet, for a third opinion. After all, to go from "OMG YOUR DOG IS GOING TO DIE YOU NEED TO EXTRACT THE TEETH YOU NEED TO GIVE ME $1700 TO EXTRACT THE TEETH," to "Nice dog. In good health. No work needed," is slightly disconcerting.

But then again, I may not bother. I'll be too busy going out for dinner :)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Poodle Puzzle

Pepper has a couple of cracked teeth.

We were informed of this a couple of weeks ago when she visited the vet for her last round of puppy vaccinations.

These cracked teeth are puppy teeth, of course. Now, puppy teeth fall out between the ages of 4-7 months. Pepper is about 17 weeks old now, and has already got a few permanent teeth in her little mouth.

"Vet: "These teeth MUST be removed, or you are putting your dog at risk."
Me: "Risk of what?"
Vet: "Infection. And her permanenet teeth may be affected."
Me: "How?"
Vet: "Look, pulling these teeth will maximize her bite potential."

Now, I maximized my own bite with braces. I also maximized Kathleen's bite with orthodontic assessments and a few years of her wearing an orthodontic appliance.

I remember what that all cost. So I wasn't terribly surprised when the vet presented me with an estimate of about $1700. This included the cost of pulling the teeth, a general anesthetic, and even local anesthetic.

Me: "Um. You made a mistake here. If she's under a general, she doesn't need a local."
Vet: "Yes, she does."
Me: "Um. Really."
Vet: "It's to make sure she feels no pain."

I don't know about you, but I understand that humans undergo major surgery, such as heart transplants, while under a general anesthetic, with no local. I've heard rumors that it works well.

Me: "I had a filling last month, and my dentist didn't even give me a local, never mind general anesthesia."
Vet: (Withering look, long sigh) "Without a local, we've noticed that the dog's heart rate increases when we extract teeth, even under a general. This might indicate pain."

Me: "Might it?"

No answer from vet, who is not just a vet, but a veterinarian dentist. One who wears green scrubs around the office, like he just stepped out of surgery.

I left with Pepper and the estimate.

I can see the cracked teeth. I keep looking in her mouth, hoping to see they've fallen out. That way, I'll still be able to go on vacation next summer, instead of spending it on maximizing Pepper's bite.

To pull Pepper's puppy teeth will cost more than she did herself. It will also cost more than a large round of dental work I just completed. For me, I got emergency dental work done in the US last summer on a cracked tooth. Sounds eerily like Pepper's situation, except my cracked tooth was a permanent molar, and the "crack" was in fact more of a "split" with about half of the tooth falling off. I also got a permanent crown fitted once I returned to Canada.

Grand total: well, less than what the vet wants in order to do Pep's extractions.