February 26, 2013

Canine gets canines cleaned

PLATTSBURGH — A dog named Katie got her teeth cleaned with a live audience looking on.

But first, Palmer Veterinary Clinic served lunch to the small group, then associate veterinarian Dr. Sarah McCarter gave a presentation on dental health for dogs and cats.

“Our goal is to show you what we mean when we say your pet needs a dental cleaning,” she told the seven clients invited by the clinic to the Dine and Dental seminar at the Route 22 facility.


During a standard procedure, the vet said, they remove as much of the buildup of tartar and stains on the animal’s teeth as possible and also polish them. The pet is put under anesthesia first, which also includes some pain relief.

The vet checks for any damaged teeth or infection and removes teeth that are no longer healthy.

When dogs’ teeth are worn down to the gum — from chewing on tennis balls, sticks and other toys — it’s time to remove them, McCarter said.

She said that when animals undergo extractions, they’re sent home with antibiotics. 

Even with the removal of several teeth, she said, the animal still has no problem eating. In fact, she said, they will eat better because they are no longer in discomfort from infection or damaged teeth.

“That mouth is much happier,” she said, while showing an image of a pet’s mouth that had just undergone dental cleaning and extraction.


Katie, a black Labrador retriever mix, lay on a wet-procedure table in the clinic’s treatment room, oblivious to the little crowd around her and to the hands in her mouth.

As the tartar was chipped off her teeth, everyone’s reaction was, “Wow.” 

The small audience was amazed at how much of the plaque and stains could be removed. 

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