Today old Poochie came in for his annual checkup. Poochie is fourteen years old. He is certainly slowing down a little, but is generally in pretty good health for an old-timer. He usually checks out pretty well except for his teeth. Every year for the last few years, when I do his physical exam, I save looking at his teeth for last. Everything else looks pretty good, but I know his teeth will be funky. Then we’ll have to evaluate his anesthetic risks for teeth-cleaning and set up another appointment. It is something that I don’t like doing, and his owner is afraid of doing, and Poochie sure doesn’t like it — that’s why you have to anesthetize him.

So imagine my suprise and delight today when I lifted his old fuzzy gray lips and found that his teeth looked GREAT! No visible tartar or gum disease. I couldn’t believe it, and said so. His owner gave me this funny little smile, looked down, and said, “I’ve been brushing his teeth every day. He’s gotten used to it after his supper every night. In fact, I think he kind of likes it now.” Man, this is terrific! Someone is actually using that pet toothbrush they bought, and son-of-a-gun, it works!

The only sad thing about this is that I think it’s the first time I’ve had a pet-owner actually follow through on the tooth-brushing thing. I’ve sold quite a few tooth-brushes, but I think that it’s obvious that my pep-talk hasn’t been peppy enough. Technically, I guess it’s been okay. You can see what I’ve been saying in an earlier blog entry on tooth-brushing.

Attitude has a lot to do with it. “How do I keep this tartar from coming back after his teeth are cleaned?” “You need to brush his teeth …every day. It really won’t work unless you do it every day.” I’ve been emphasizing “every day”, or have I? Maybe what the clients have been remembering is the part where I say, “…It really won’t work unless you do it every day.” I’ve really got to do something about that. Man, I hate cleaning teeth. It would be so great to see clean teeth instead of funky, stinky teeth that need cleaning.

It’s one thing to read it in the veterinary journals and have the dental specialists talk about it. There is nothing like a testimonial from someone who has experienced the success first hand, though. I’m not even going to put that asterisk on the testimonial (you know, the one from all the miracle weight-loss programs? There’s a picture of this amazing, gorgeous babe who used to weigh three hundred pounds, but there’s always that asterisk: * “Results not typical.”) I don’t care if the results are not typical. The typical response is to chuck the toothbrush in a drawer. I’m truly inspired by Poochie’s clean mouth, and if you’ll just do this every day, you, too, can have a pet with a healthy mouth.

This post was provided by Dr. Everett Mobley of Kennet Veterinary Clinic in Kennet, MO.