6 Things to Do Before Your Senior Cat Has Surgery

As the proud mama to two senior cats — Thomas, age 13, and Siouxsie, age 17 — I’ve had quite a few years to learn about the special needs of our elderkitty friends. Both Thomas and Siouxsie have had dental procedures done under anesthesia, and each time I knew that the surgeries were more risky for them than they would be for a younger cat. Here are some of the things I did to make sure they were as safe and comfortable as possible.

Dental cleanings and extractions are almost certainly the commonest surgical procedures performed on senior cats. Veterinarian cleaning a cat’s teeth by Shutterstock

1. Get the pre-anesthetic bloodwork

Many vets won’t even agree to do surgery without pre-anesthetic blood tests to determine how well your cat’s liver, kidneys, pancreas and thyroid gland are working, as well as to detect issues such as infections or anemia. This is particularly true when it comes to senior cats. Even if your cat just had his regular senior blood panel a few months ago, if your vet recommends blood work, do it. After about age 10, cats age four years for every one calendar year, and a lot can happen in a short time.

2. If your vet recommends other diagnostic tests, listen to her

Your vet has a good understanding of your cat’s general health, and she may feel that additional tests are needed in order to minimize the risk and the amount of time your cat is under anesthesia.

Siouxsie was pretty schnookered after her first dental.

3. Ask what you can do to get your cat as strong as possible

Your vet may have some ideas about supplements, foods or other ways you can ensure that your elderkitty is as healthy as possible when she goes in for her operation. If you know a holistic vet, you may want to ask that person too — and, of course, keep your regular vet in the loop.

4. Follow the preoperative instructions

Your vet will ask you to withhold food and water from your cat overnight. There’s a good reason for this: If your cat vomits while she’s under anesthesia, food or liquid could get into her lungs and lead to pneumonia or other serious complications.

Ginger cat with a broken leg by Shutterstock

5. Ask about any medications your cat is currently taking

You’re not supposed to feed your cat before surgery, but should you also skip the morning dose of his medicine? Make sure your vet has answered all your questions and that you understand the answers.

6. Bring a piece of home for the recovery room

After surgery, your cat will rest in a warm cage while he’s coming out of anesthesia and sedation. He’ll be carefully monitored by hospital staff, and they’ll certainly give him lots of love, but it’ll still be a stressful day for him — and stress can affect senior cats more than it may affect younger cats. Bring your cat’s favorite blanket or mat and ask the staff to put it in the cage with him so he can be surrounded by smells from home.

Next time Thomas needs to go to the vet for a dental cleaning, I’m going to send this little purple and pink blanket a friend of Paws and Effect created for the kitties.

Do you have any other tips for preparing a senior cat for surgery? What have you done to help an elderkitty friend who’s had to go to the hospital for an operation or other procedure? Please share your thoughts — and your questions and concerns, if you’ve got an old kitty who needs to go to the hospital — in the comments.

Source: http://www.catster.com/lifestyle/cat-health-tips-senior-older-cats-surgery-precautions-veterinary-medicine

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New Year’s Beauty Resolutions: Tips For Healthier Smiles For 2014 From Dr. James Goolnik

(Photo : Tumblr / Beauty World News)

As we inhale another fork of stuffing or drink yet another glass of wine, let’s spare a thought for our poor old mouths over this fun, festive period. It is often said that your mouth is a window into your overall health and during the holidays especially, that window is in need of repair. Top London dentist, Dr. James Goolnik was asked by Beauty4Media for a few good dental tips this season that can help us to be a bit kinder to our oral cavities. Here’s what the expert had to say:

1. Most of us a like a drink or two around the holidays even more so. However, most alcoholic drinks contain sugar, which combined with bacteria in your mouth, can lead to tooth decay. Many drinks – especially those with carbonated mixers, are very acidic and can dissolve tooth enamel. Vomiting to relieve the occasional hangover can also bring stomach acid into your mouth leading to the enamel being dissolved.

Mouth Savers – Dr. Goolnik says to swish your mouth with water between drinks. Chew sugar-free gum on the way home too. And leave your toothbrush on your pillow before you go out so you don’t forget to brush before you go to bed.

2. Even if you are keeping the alcohol in check, soft and fizzy drinks also contain a large amount of sugar – and even the sugar-free ones are almost as bad, as they contain lots of acid.

Mouth Savers – Dr. Goolnik recommends reducing your overall amount of these drinks and if you can, drink through a straw. Don’t brush straight after drinking – chew with sugar-free gum to neutralize plaque acid. And try to and limit these drinks to mealtimes only.

3. Sweets? Plenty of those around for the holidays. Nuts? These types of foods can crack your teeth. What’s a gal to do?

Mouth Savers – Dr. Goolnik says to suck sweets! Ideally Xylitol ones, as they are good for your teeth.

4. Smoking and Drinking. The festive season can see a few more of those ‘social’ smokers come out of the woodwork as the cigars are handed round. Smoking can hide the warning signs of gum disease, but when combined with drinking, it is much more dangerous as alcohol aids the absorption of tobacco into the mouth; those who smoke and drink in excess are up to 30 times more likely to possible develop mouth cancer.

Mouth Savers – Of course Dr. Goolnik says to avoid smoking if you can. And if you can’t, see your dentist regularly to check for early warning signs of mouth cancer.

5. It would be fair to say that our diets are not generally at their best at this time of year. Snacking, sweets, and crisps – you name it, most of us do it and it can be hard on our teeth and oral health.

Mouth Savers – The dental expert said if you can keep to mealtimes as much as possible, this can help a lot. Chew sugar-free gum or xylitol containing mints, and make sure that you brush twice a day and floss!

So there you have it – 5 tips to look after your mouth so that it smiles its way into 2014 in good shape!

Taking any of these tips with you into the New Year? Let us know with a note below!

 

Source: http://www.beautyworldnews.com/articles/7229/20131226/new-years-beauty-resolutions-get-tips-for-healthier-smiles-for-2014-from-dr-james-goolnik-teeth-veneers-oral-care-dental.htm

 

Low literacy levels ‘harming oral health’

The British Dental Health Foundation has expressed concern following two new research papers linking failed appointments and dental anxiety – barriers that can contribute to poor oral health – with low literacy levels, particularly in adults.

One study of 187 parents and guardians revealed their own dental anxiety was directly related to their oral health literacy level, which also had a knock-on effect on their child’s oral health. A second study of 200 adults showed people who use fewer sources of oral health information are more likely to fail to show for crucial routine dental appointments, potentially leading to un-diagnosed problems.

 

The problem in the UK is compounded by statistics from the Skills for Life Survey that revealed more than five million adults have a reading level below that expected of an 11-year old.

The survey, published by the Department for Business and Innovation found that one in seven (15 per cent) adults aged 16-65 achieved literacy skills at or below entry Level 3 – the equivalent expected by the National Curriculum of those leaving Primary School. It also found that an estimated 1.1 million adults fit into entry Level 1 – the equivalent of National Curriculum for 5-7 year-olds.

Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, believes if literacy improves, oral health could follow suit.

Dr Carter says: “Oral health information can be a little bit like a game of jargon busting. Some of the terms are quite technical, and given the findings of the research and the Skills for Life survey, it is clear for many people they will simply go over their head.

Routine dental appointments are so important to keep up, and for those people who are either too scared or simply do not understand why, information should be presented as clear and concise as possible.

That is why our own ‘Tell Me About’ range of patient leaflets offers easy to understand information, which avoids medical jargon and includes diagrams outlining various stages of treatment. Written and verified by qualified dental professionals and in an easy to understand questions and answer format, these leaflets are an excellent source of information to seek out.

Dentist Chair (PD)It is not uncommon to be flummoxed by some of the language in forms or following advice from the dentist. It also may not be easy discussing literacy shortcomings with your dentist, but doing so will give you the best opportunity to receive advice you will understand.

The same principle applies to people anxious of the dentist. If you haven’t seen a dentist for years through fear or anxiety, be reassured that you should find the experience dramatically more bearable nowadays. Most people who are scared of the dentist have bad memories from childhood of the smells and sounds of the surgery. Modern dental surgeries are much friendlier environments with flowers in the waiting room, art on the walls, a pleasant reception area and polite staff. It’s altogether a gentler experience.

 

Source: http://www.economicvoice.com/low-literacy-levels-harming-oral-health/

Nigeria: How to Improve Oral Health?

Oral diseases and conditions:

The most common oral diseases are dental cavities, periodontal (gum) disease, oral cancer, oral infectious diseases, trauma from injuries, and hereditary lesions.

1. Dental cavities: Worldwide, 60-90% of school children and nearly 100% of adults have dental cavities, often leading to pain and discomfort.

2. Periodontal disease: Severe periodontal (gum) disease, which may result in tooth loss, is found in 15-20% of middle-aged (35-44 years) adults.

3. Tooth loss: Dental cavities and periodontal disease are major causes of tooth loss. Complete loss of natural teeth is widespread and particularly affects older people. Globally, about 30% of people aged 65-74 have no natural teeth.

4. Oral cancer: the prevalence of oral cancer is relatively higher in men, in older people, and among people of low education and low income. Tobacco and alcohol are major causal factors.

5. Fungal, bacterial or viral infections in HIV: Almost half (40-50%) of people who are HIV-positive have oral fungal, bacterial or viral infections. These often occur early in the course of HIV infection.

6. Oro-dental trauma due to accidents, or violence.

7. Noma: Noma is a gangrenous lesion that affects young children living in extreme poverty primarily in Africa and Asia. Lesions are severe gingival disease followed by necrosis (premature death of cells in living tissue) of lips and chin.

8. Cleft lip and palate: Birth defects such as cleft lip and palate occur in about one per 500 – 700 of all births. This rate varies substantially across different ethnic groups and geographical areas.

Common causes:

Risk factors for oral diseases include an unhealthy diet, tobacco use and harmful alcohol use. These are also risk factors for the four leading chronic diseases – cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes – and oral diseases are often linked to chronic disease. Poor oral hygiene is also a risk factor for oral disease.

The prevalence of oral disease varies by geographical region, and availability and accessibility of oral health services. Social determinants in oral health are also very strong. The prevalence of oral diseases is increasing in low- and middle-income countries, and in all countries, the oral disease burden is significantly higher among poor and disadvantaged population groups.

Prevention and treatment:

1. Decreasing sugar intake and maintaining a well-balanced nutritional intake to prevent tooth decay and premature tooth loss.

2. Consuming fruit and vegetables that can protect against oral cancer.

3. Stopping tobacco use and decreasing alcohol consumption to reduce the risk of oral cancers, periodontal disease and tooth loss.

4. Ensuring proper oral hygiene

5. Using protective sports and motor vehicle equipment to reduce the risk of facial injuries.

6. Dental cavities can be prevented by maintaining a constant low level of fluoride in the oral cavity. Fluoride can be obtained from fluoridated drinking water, salt, milk and toothpaste, as well as from professionally-applied fluoride or mouth rinse.

7. Most oral diseases and conditions require professional dental care, however, due to limited availability or inaccessibility, the use of oral health services is markedly low among older people, people living in rural areas, and people with low income and education.

 

Source: AllAfrica

 

February is Pet Dental Health Month: Are Your Dog’s Teeth Healthy?

Photo Credit: (c) ndres Rodriguez – Fotolia.com ScoopSanDiego

(StatePoint) Did you know that oral hygiene is tied to your pet’s overall health? Studies show that keeping your pet’s mouth healthy may increase life expectancy by up to two years.

This February is National Pet Dental Health Month, and it’s a great time to get started improving your dog’s oral health. You can prevent or reduce chances of developing oral disease by beginning a hygiene regimen from an early age.

“It’s important to start good oral hygiene as early as possible,” says Bob Scharf, president of Sergeant’s Pet Care Products. “According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, 80 percent of dogs show symptoms of oral disease by the age of three. However, it’s never too late to take better care of your dog’s teeth.”

A few easy steps can help you get started.

Signs of Oral Disease

Keep an eye out for bad breath and unusual or excessive drooling and pawing at the mouth, as they can be signs of dental problems.

In addition to bad breath, poor oral health can lead to kidney and heart disease. The bacteria in the mouth can build up, entering the bloodstream via the gums. This puts extra work on the kidneys to filter out bacteria. And these bacteria can set up house in a dog’s heart valves, potentially leading to a condition called valvular endocarditis.

Establish a Routine

To ensure better dental health, brush your dog’s teeth daily. This can be daunting, but half the challenge is getting started and developing a routine.

Dogs need help brushing their teeth. With this in mind, the experts at Sergeant’s Pet Care Products developed a line of dental products targeting plaque, a buildup of bacteria, and tartar, which occurs when plaque hardens and adheres to tooth enamel.

Get dogs used to the experience by squeezing canine tooth paste on your finger and putting it between their cheeks and gums. Canine toothpaste has special food flavoring, making it appealing to pets. As they lick the paste, praise them constantly.

Keep initial brushing sessions to a few gentle seconds. Once your dog is used to having his teeth brushed, do so for about a minute daily.

Treats Can Help

Other items and treats can help canine oral care, such as dental chews and rawhides which promote chewing and mechanically remove plaque. For example, Sentry Petrodex Filled Dental Bones help prevent plaque while keeping teeth clean and breath fresh. In addition to the bone’s exterior benefits, an advanced dental paste inside of the bone with a residual component adheres to dogs’ teeth and works to whiten by cleaning away plaque and tartar buildup. These treats are available at such specialty pet retailers as PetSmart and Petco.

Additionally, feeding your dog hard kibbles instead of soft, moist food is slightly better at keeping plaque from accumulating.

More tips and information on pet dental care products are available at www.sentrypetcare.com.

By following a simple dental routine you can help keep your dog happy and healthy for years to come!

 

Source: ScoopSanDiego.com

Putting teeth in the law: Dental regulations largely missing from Obamacare

With the roll-out of the Affordable Care Act, one discipline has been largely absent from the regulations: dentistry.

 

“Right now, dentistry is not included in the ACA,” said Dr. Steve Holm, president-elect of the Indiana Dental Association.

 

Holm, a dentist with Airport Road Dental Associates in Portage, said opinions are divided among dentists about their lack of a place in health care reform. Some believe it has not gone smoothly so far, and others support the effort to make health care more available, he said.

 

“I think the approach is cautious,” he said. “We want to be at the table, but we want to see how it will involve us.”

 

Dental organizations find ways to meet the oral health care needs of those in need.

 

“We’re trying to do something to solve the access to care problem,” Holm said.

 

People can get care at local universities, such as Indiana University Northwest. Or they can participate in multiday blitzes, such as Mission of Mercy.

 

“We just see patients that don’t have the funds to go elsewhere,” he said.

 

Indianapolis is expected to host such an event this fall or in spring 2015, he said.

 

In LaPorte, local dentists participated in Operation Stand Down, a program providing dental care for military veterans. After the initial visit, patients were paired with local dentists for follow-ups, Holm said.

 

And most dentists participate in a Donated Dental Services program that provides care for people meeting certain income requirements.

 

Dentists often are involved in charitable treatment, said Dr. Loren Feldner, a dentist who sits on the board of directors for the Chicago Dental Society.

 

“There’s a huge philanthropic arm,” he said.

 

Feldner said dentistry got involved in some unintended consequences of the Affordable Care Act.

 

One consequence is determining whether dentists fall under the 3 percent medical device tax requirement.

 

Dentists wonder whether mouth guards or the wire and brackets for orthodontia are considered medical devices, Feldner said.

 

Even with expanded care and charitable care, only 50 percent of people visit a dentist, a number that hasn’t changed since 1980, Feldner said. Some are scared, and some don’t make time for it.

 

“It’s not a priority — their dental care,” he said.

 

The American Dental Association estimated 8.7 million children could gain extensive dental coverage through the Affordable Care Act by 2018. About 17.7 million adults could gain some sort of coverage, the association estimated.

 

For children, the expansion will be almost evenly split among Medicaid (3.2 million), health insurance exchanges or marketplaces (3 million) and employer sponsored insurance (2.5 million), the associated estimated.

 

Source:  http://www.nwitimes.com/business/healthcare/putting-teeth-in-the-law-dental-regulations-largely-missing-from/article_0b8a642c-041f-550c-8e8d-701e5062ee48.html

 

Hospital offers tips on oral health

Good oral health is important to your overall health – a fact that is often overlooked. But when you think about it, the mouth is the gateway to the body, making oral health a significant player in your overall well-being.

The mouth is filled with countless bacteria, most of which are harmless. With daily brushing and flossing, the body’s defenses can fight and control those bacteria. Without proper oral care however, the bacteria can cause oral infections that affect the teeth, gums, palate, tongue, lips and inside of the cheeks.

The American Dental Association recommends seeing a dentist if you notice any of the following signs:

  • Gums      that bleed during brushing and flossing
  • Red,      swollen or tender gums
  • Gums      that have pulled away from your teeth
  • Persistent      bad breath
  • Pus      between your teeth and gums
  • Loose      or separating teeth
  • A      change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
  • A      change in the fit of partial dentures

General guidelines for good oral hygiene include brushing teeth thoroughly at least twice a day, flossing daily, replacing toothbrushes every three or four months, and scheduling regular dental check-ups. Daily preventative care can stop problems before they even develop.

The mouth can show signs of nutritional deficiencies or general infection, including systemic diseases. Oral health may affect or contribute to diseases and conditions including but not limited to:

  • Cardiovascular disease – research      suggests that chronic inflammation from gum disease may be linked to heart      disease, clogged arteries and stroke.
  • Pregnancy health – research      suggests a relationship between gum disease and pre-term, low-birth-weight      infants.
  • Diabetes – uncontrolled diabetes      puts the body at risk for gum disease. Research shows that people with      diabetes are more likely to have severe gum problems and have a harder      time controlling their blood sugar levels.
  • Inflammation – poor oral health is associated with the      development of infection in other parts of the body.
  • Memory – research suggests that people with swollen, bleeding      gums perform worse on tests of memory and other cognitive skills than      those with healthy gums.
  • HIV/AIDS – people with HIV/AIDS are more likely to experience      oral problems, such as painful mucosal lesions.

It’s never too early to teach proper oral care to children. Practicing good oral care at a young age can positively impact children’s health in adulthood.

 

Source:  SWVAToday.com