Our wonderful greyhounds have one of the highest incidences of dental disease of any breed seen at your local vet.
Though they are lucky enough to have a beautiful long snout and strong teeth they get an unusually high rate of calculus build up on these teeth which can cause long term health issues.
This seems to stem from the diet they are often fed whilst racing and they can also do themselves a lot of damage chewing on cage bars. Dental health care is really important to the long term health of our greyhounds and is something that will need to be managed throughout their entire lives. Regular dental checks as well as cleaning both at home and at your vet can minimise the long term problems that come with poor dental health.
When large amounts of calculus build up on your dogs’ teeth this causes damage to the mouth and gums and as it progresses causes further damage to the root structures of the teeth. Greyhounds seem to build up this level of calculus much faster than other dogs. Once this starts happening this can cause a huge amount of pain and can result in tooth abscesses, breakages and loss of bone health in the jaw. As well as this we need to remember that every time they chew it causes small amounts of bleeding at the gum line and if there is a large amount of calculus then this can cause bacterial movement through the blood stream and result in a higher rate of infection and organ damage.
Home dental care is something we all strive to achieve in ourselves and ideally in our pets but it is not as easy as you may think. Despite brushing our own teeth twice daily, we often find ourselves at the dentist at least once a year and our pets should be no different. Home brushing in dogs is something some pets will allow but not always and it is best achieved when started young.
Unfortunately we don’t often get this opportunity in young greyhounds and so the importance of regular dental checks for your hound is paramount. Proper dental cleaning in dogs almost always requires a general anaesthetic to allow a really thorough clean of both the tooth you can see on the outside as well as under the gum line and even dental xrays to assess the health of the jaw and underlying bone.
Please ensure that your beautiful hound is having at least annual dental checks and get those teeth cleaned as soon as your vet recommends it. Earlier cleaning can prevent so many other health issues and can also minimise any pain your dog may be suffering quietly.
Dr Charlotte Krisanski
BVSc (hons) MANZCVS (Small Animal Surgery)
Veterinary Director at Greencross Caloundra