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New equipment to help with pet care PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 16 March 2018 12:47

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ELLY GRIMM
• Leader & Times



Pet owners and veterinarians alike are constantly looking for ways to improve the quality of overall care for the world’s furriest friends and recently, the Liberal Animal Hospital made a purchase to help with just that. 

A new digital dental x-ray machine to help with pets’ dental care was purchased about three months ago and according to Liberal Animal Hospital’s Dr. Brett Jones, the need for such technology has been around for a few years.

“The digital x-rays, as far as for dentals, that’s something that’s really become popular in the past five years or so, it was something we didn’t really do a lot with while I was in vet school,” Jones said. “But as time’s passed, we’ve learned a lot more and the technology has made it much more affordable to where we can actually have it and now that we have it, we’re seeing how much more refined it is and all the problems going on that we didn’t know about. It’s been a technology previously more reserved for the specialists but as it’s become more popular and mainstream, I think eventually it’s going to become part of the standard of care for veterinarians. Because if you can’t take a good x-ray, you won’t be able to properly diagnose what’s going on and once you’ve diagnosed and treated it, you can see you did the right treatments. So not only does it allow us to find more and treat more and help the animal have a better quality of life, it lets us do a better job as far as following up and doing what we need to do.”

And the response from patients’ owners has been extremely positive, Jones added. 

“One example I have offhand is there was a dog who came in for a teeth cleaning and in looking at the dog with the naked eye, there were dirty teeth but nothing looked too bad,” Jones said. “But then when I started taking x-rays, what we found was about seven teeth that ended up needing to be pulled. If I hadn’t had the digital x-ray, I would never have known that. That dog’s a lot better off now because all those teeth had to be hurting him, but since they can’t talk, they can’t really tell us if they’re in pain. This allows us to see better what’s going on and have a much better view of everything. Another thing that’s really important is once we find a diseased tooth and take it out, after we’ve removed it, I have to make sure I got everything and this helps with that too. A veterinarian in Ulysses implemented this technology about a year and a half ago and his father was a dentist and he kept telling me how much better quality of medicine he was able to give because of having this around.”

Previously, Jones said, veterinarians had to rely mostly on sight. 

“For a long time, we could suspect something was going on and use the big x-ray, but you couldn’t see it as well and we couldn’t get in that close,” Jones said. “This piece of equipment is really limited to the mouths of smaller animals, but we also do a lot of work on horses’ teeth as well, so I think there’s the potential to grow in that area as well.”

With many veterinary offices already implementing such technology, Jones said he foresees the technology continuing to grow and be available in more animal hospitals and other veterinary offices. 

“There are many veterinarian dentists who consider it a poor quality job not being able to check up after you do an extraction and make sure everything’s fine,” Jones said. “There are veterinarians who do a great job without this available to them, but there are still some things they won’t be able to see. Statistics are showing out of mouths that were examined, about 15 percent were judged to be okay but then upon being x-rayed, the majority of them had problems. It’s about finding problems before they’re unable to be fixed. Right now, we’re faced with if there’s a diseased tooth, it gets extracted but eventually, we’ll probably be able to do root canals and crowns, we’ll be able to help out and keep those teeth rather than just taking them out because the mouth determines a lot about the quality of life for an animal. It’s being mainly used for cats and dogs, but you could theoretically use it with birds and other exotic animals.”

Overall, Jones said, it is another tool to help with the complete care of people’s favorite furry friends. 

“A lot of people have told me ‘I’ve got my dog back.’ They felt their dog was getting grumpy and they noticed it wasn’t moving around as much but it was because there was that pain,” Jones said. “But once we were able to see what was going on and fixed it by either extraction or medicine, it made such a difference because they weren’t in pain anymore and could be back to normal. Teeth are often something we don’t think about with dogs and cats because we don’t look in their mouths. But it’s the source of bad breath since they’re always in your face. But if we do good dental hygiene with them, we’ll help their teeth last longer and help them be healthy and it’s just another part of the pet’s complete care.”

 

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The High Plains Daily Leader and Southwest Daily Times are published Sunday through Friday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association and the Associated Press.

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