Lola was a middle-aged Pomeranian, surrendered to Manhattan ACC In New York City, by her owner, because her breath smelled foul and she had a large lump in her mouth. She quickly ended up on the euthanasia list, but luckily, she was pulled by Posh Pets Rescue and adopted by Jessica and David Santos on November 30th, 2012.
Lola saw several vets and specialists, and the diagnosis was unanimous: not only was the tumor cancerous, but also in an advanced stage, and because of its enormous size, it was inoperable. After over two months of love and care, Lola passed away in her mom's arms on February 2, 2013.
Many, while loving pet parents, don't realize the importance of their furry friends' dental care.
Our dogs benefit from daily tooth brushing just as much as we do. And when, despite all our efforts, our pet's breath starts to smell bad, he starts drooling, he loses his appetite, or we notice anything unusual on his teeth or gums, a visit to the vet's is in order, for it can be a sign of something serious for which he will need medical care.
The most common problem is periodontal disease, which practically any dog can develop. Daily tooth brushing can delay the illness, and so can high quality chews. The typical signs of periodontal disease are dark tartar buildup (which isn't only unattractive, but it pushes against the gum) and bad breath. Because it hurts the gum, if left untreated, it often leads to painful root abscesses, which in the most awful cases of neglect, can cause a literal hole in the jaw, slowly eating it away. If the infected bacteria in the gum, gets into the blood stream, it can affect the dog's liver, kidneys and heart as well.
According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, malignant oral tumors in dogs are less common that benign growths, but the most common types are "squamous cell carcinoma, fibrosarcomas, and malignant melanomas." (You can read more about them here, but be prepared for some graphic images.) The sooner such a tumor is discovered and its exact type is diagnosed, the more likely it is that veterinarians can successfully treat it.
February is National Pet Dental Health Month, so now is the perfect time to schedule a visit with your four-legged companion's veterinarian, and make sure he or she checks for any signs of oral malignancies.
Help came too late for little Lola. Don't let it happen to your pet.