Big Dogs mean Big Health Bills

by DFS-Pet-Blog on October 19, 2009

Dulse should have no problem holding the bumper even without one canine tooth!

Dulse should have no problem holding the bumper even without one canine tooth!

Dulse, my 12-year-old Newf got a dental prophylaxis (teeth cleaning at the vet) a couple of months ago and because he is big, it takes longer to clean his teeth, and he had to have more anesthesia than a lot of dogs. “Ching-ching-chingggggg” went the cash register in my head.

A few weeks ago I had to take both Newfs in for grooming (the groomer has to set aside an entire day to do both of them and I have to book months in advance). I noticed an odor when Dulse got into the car – I thought it might be his coat, but by the time I got to the groomer’s the entire car was stinky, so I knew something was wrong. The groomer and I looked in his mouth and saw that the odor was coming from a big hole above his left canine tooth. Luckily my groomer is located at my vet’s and my vet was able to look at it and clean it out.  Apparently, there were pockets around the tooth that were not closing up and were filling with food and miscellany that caused an infection. Home care?  A special mouth rinse and antibiotics. At that time, my vet and I talked about the possibility of tooth extraction. More anesthesia and surgery.

A few days after that visit, it appeared that feeding him soft food (none of his favorite rawhides) and rinsing out his mouth are working. The smell was gone and the area around the tooth looked good.

Unfortunately, a couple of weeks later it started to smell again. Another course of a different antibiotic and soft food again. Still, the infection didn’t resolve. Into the vet’s for a special treatment called Oradent, a gel with an antibiotic in it that is supposed to help gum pockets heal. Again, it worked initially, but again, the infection came back. I decided to make an appointment for the tooth to be removed.

He had the procedure yesterday and it was a long surgery. Let me tell you, even being familiar with dental procedures, having had pre-anesthetic blood work done, and knowing how healthy Dulse is for his age didn’t keep me from worrying and second guessing myself. I was a mess until I picked him up.

Last night the old boy slept a lot, but got up for dinner and some water. This morning I felt comfortable enough to leave him home when I came to work.

We love our animals a lot and will do anything for them. Even though these big boys often put a dent in my wallet, they are worth their weight in laughs, licks and that famous “Newfie lean.”

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Melissa October 19, 2009 at 11:01 am

Happy to hear Dulse is doing well after his extraction. I think we all worry while they are at the vets….I’m thinking this year might be time for Mocca to have a cleaning done by the vet as she is 10, and her teeth are starting to look her age.

Candid Carrie October 20, 2009 at 11:31 am

We’ve got a nine month old mastiff/rottie mutt and a 15 month old Presa Canario and I’ll agree the bigger the dog the bigger ALL the expenses. While the vet and dentistry bills are large, do you notice the difference you pay for toys and beds and pressed rawhides? Oh my gosh, here’s hoping a big dog never gets an allergic reaction to a bee sting!

Great article, thanks.

I came over via twitter 😉

Barb S. October 20, 2009 at 3:04 pm

Thanks, Melissa- Dulse seems to be healing well.
Carrie: Yes, I have had these big guys for 15 years and the cost of everything has always been higher – but they are oh, so worth it, aren’t they? BTW,I would love to see a photo of your Presa- they are gorgeous and a 15-month-old must be so cute (yes, “cute”- even at 100+ lbs!)

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