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Hello! I am new here and thought I would ask for some advice.
I have a Maltese, Sophie, who just turned 13 last week, and I have had her since I was 9 years old. She has had no health problems in the past, although about 5 years ago my parents were told by the vet that she needed a dental cleaning, but they never could go through with it. I realized about 2 years ago that she should probably have a dental cleaning sooner rather than later while she is still in good health. Also, I noticed she has developed a “chewing gum lesion” from chewing her food with such a small mouth. The vet has advised me that this should be surgically removed as well to be sure it is not a cause for concern, as well as to allow her to chew her food more easily. However, I have lost sleep almost every night since then, stressing and contemplating whether I should go through with her dental cleaning. I am so worried about the anesthesia or anything else that could go wrong during the procedure. I truly don’t know what I would do without Sophie, she is my best friend and comes everywhere with me. I also know that she will feel much better if her teeth were treated, so I am facing a dilemma.
I would be taking her to the Auburn Vet School in Alabama, where I previously took her last year for a checkup and to consult about her teeth.
Could anyone give me any advice on Maltese of this age going under anesthesia for dental cleanings/oral procedures/tooth removal? Is it safe? Do Maltese/older dogs in general tend to be sensitive to any specific drug? I am not very familiar with these things so just want to make sure I know everything there is to know before making this decision.
Also, if anyone is from the area, is the Auburn Vet School the best place to go for oral surgeries? I am willing to travel if it means she will be in better hands.
Any additional advice is greatly appreciated as well! Thank you!
 

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Dental care is critical to maintaining the health of our small dogs, and five years is way too long to have waited. The lack of dental care can lead to all sorts of other health issues, including heart disease. She will be healthier and much more comfortable after her dental issues are taken care of. Auburn vet school has a great reputation so I would not hesitate to have your pup receive the care she needs.
 

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Kathy & Pipper
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I understand how worried you are about her going under anesthesia, we all worry about that, but just make sure they do pre anesthesia bloodwork. This will alert them to any potential problems to watch out for. She will feel so much better after having her teeth done. By her age she probably will need extractions which could be causing her pain right now. Dentals are necessary to keep our dogs healthy. These small breeds with over crowded mouths tend to have a lot of dental issues. Most of us get our dogs teeth done every 1 - 2 years. We will all be here for you the day she has it done with words of encouragement to get you through this. We have all been through this and we know the stress it can cause you.
 

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I completely understand your dilemma. When Zooey was 13, she needed a dental. But, I knew that I could lose her as older dogs and dogs that have dental problems are at a slightly increased risk under anesthesia. But, would I want her to be in pain for the rest of her life, however long that might have been?

Quality of life is critical, as I just mentioned in my last post. It sounds like Sophie MUST have this done, or she will be suffering. I see it as a risk you sort of have to take. Like Maggie mentioned, Auburn Veterinary School has an outstanding reputation. She will be in the best hands. I know how scary this is, but I would go for it anyway.

Hugs!

Elisabeth
 
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