Like humans, dogs and cats have baby teeth, called deciduous teeth, that are replaced by permanent teeth as the puppy and kitten grow and develop. The deciduous teeth begin to erupt around 2 to 3 weeks of age while the permanent adult teeth erupt between 3 to 7 months in dogs and 3 to 6 months in cats. When puppies and kittens lose their baby teeth, you might notice blood on their gum, lip, or tongue. This is normal. You may or may not find little teeth scattered around on the carpet or floors. If your pet swallows them, they will not cause any problems.
There are four types of teeth found in mammals:
Incisors – incisors sit at the front of the mouth and help the animal cut and grasp food
Canines – canines sit behind the incisors and are used to stab and tear food
Premolars – premolars sit behind the canines and are used to grind food
Molars – molars sit at the back of the mouth and are used to grind food
A tooth is divided into two parts – the crown and the root. The crown is the visible part of the tooth outside of the gum, while the root lies within the gumline and anchors the tooth in the mouth.
Normally, as the permanent tooth begins to develop, it will push against the root of the deciduous tooth. The body will then break down the deciduous tooth root until it can no longer be anchored in the mouth and eventually falls out. In some cases, however, the deciduous teeth remain in the mouth even as the permanent teeth come in. This is called persistent deciduous teeth and requires the surgical removal of the remaining deciduous teeth (see photo below).
While extraction of persistent deciduous teeth can be tricky due to their long roots, it is important to remove the retained teeth as soon you or your veterinarian notices them as they can cause the permanent teeth to become misaligned or displaced in the mouth, leading to future dental problems and an increased risk for periodontal disease. The teeth typically affected are incisors and canines and are usually seen in small, toy breed dogs. The dental x-ray above shows a Maltese with retained incisors and canine teeth. The photo of the extracted teeth below shows the roots that did not dissolve. The third photo shows the puppy’s perfect smile after removal of the retained deciduous teeth.
As much as we’d like to include our furry family members in our Thanksgiving celebration, the menu selection for pets can be tricky. Even a small amount of turkey skin can lead to a life-threatening condition called pancreatitis, and many other Thanksgiving staples are poisonous to pets.
Here is a list of Thanksgiving foods to keep away from animal companions — and a few you can share. Keep in mind that even “safe” foods can be dangerous if you feed too much.
If your pet likes to scavenge, be sure to clean up leftovers as soon as your meal is over, and keep trash cans tightly covered. If you’re having guests over, make sure they know not to feed table scraps to your pets — no matter how much they beg!
Foods that are NOT safe for pets:
Turkey Skin & Drippings
Salt & Seasonings
Onions & Garlic
Chives & Leeks
Corn on the Cob
Foods that are SAFE for pets in small amounts*
Turkey (boneless, skinless, unseasoned white meat)
Green Beans (unseasoned)
Mashed Potatoes (plain, cooked & unseasoned)
Sweet Potatoes (plain, cooked, & unseasoned)
Apple (2 or 3 slices, no seeds)
* Even “safe” foods are dangerous if you feed too much, so limit portions to about a spoonful of each.
Patellar luxation is a common orthopedic condition in which the kneecap moves out of its normal position. It can affect one or both knees, and frequently occurs due to abnormalities of the bones or ligaments above and below the knee that affect how the knee is aligned in the joint. Occasionally, a luxating patella can occur due to trauma to the knee.
The kneecap may shift, or luxate, towards the inner thigh (medial) or towards the outer thigh (lateral). Cats and small breed dogs typically experience a medial luxation whereas larger breed dogs typically experience a lateral luxation.
As adorable as dogs may look in Halloween costumes, it’s important to prioritize safety and comfort over style and cuteness. If you’re planning to dress up your dog for Halloween, here are some tips to keep in mind:
Make sure the costume fits properly and doesn’t interfere with your dog’s sight, hearing, breathing, or movement.
Avoid costumes with pieces that can be tripped over or chewed off.
Never leave your pet unsupervised while dressed up.
Don’t remove your dog’s collar or ID tag.
If your dog has a thick coat, choose a lightweight costume to prevent overheating.
Do a dress rehearsal before the big day. If after a few attempts, your pet rejects the costume, don’t force it.
Dogs and cats have a third eyelid, called the nictitating membrane or nictitans. This shiny, pink membrane is tucked behind the lower eyelid and pops up when a pet is sedated or sick, has a mass behind or under the eye, or has a neurological condition. The nictitans contains a gland that is responsible for tear production. Cherry eye is a condition where the gland within the third eyelid protrudes from its normal position, resulting in a red, swollen mass near the inner eyelid that kind of looks like a little red cherry. It is believed to be caused by weak tissue fibers failing to hold the gland in place. One or both eyes can be affected, and improper treatment of this condition can result in dry eye.