Dental work underway for dozens of Pomeranian pups

7:39 PM, Dec 29, 2011   |    comments
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It's not easy being a dog in need of serious dental care, let alone one with periodontal disease.

"We're hoping that they are going to feel a lot better after we adjust these issues," Veterinarian and Denistry Resident Jessica Diaz said. "They are in pretty rough shape."

In late November, an elderly couple surrendered 38 Pomeranians to the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office. Simply put, they were in over their heads, and they were the first to admit that something needed to be done. According to the Foothills Animal Shelter, most of those dogs were in fairly good physical shape, but the smiles gave it away. Tooth decay had run rampant in most of the dogs' mouths. Many had severe periodontal disease.

Decay is an easy thing to overlook with just one dog. Adding up all of the teeth in 38 dogs? It's nearly impossible to keep track of all 1596 of them.

"Smaller breed dogs have the same number of teeth that a wolf has, which is 42 teeth total as adults," Diaz said. "They have very small heads with small mouths. There's a lot of crowding that goes on in the mouths," which opens dogs up to an increased risk of tooth decay.

Diaz oversaw dental treatment on the Pomeranians, many of which had teeth removed as Alameda East Animal Hospital surgeons began working on the pups' mouths Thursday. Many of those involved with the surgeries, including Diaz, volunteered their time.

One way for pet owners to be diligent and avoid the predicament these dogs had is to check their pets for something so easy to spot -  you can smell it - bad breath.

"Bad breath is the first thing you can notice. It goes away in the healing process (after surgery)," Diaz said. "Dogs are pretty resilient, even if something is going on in their gums. But they may be lapping up their food or swallowing it whole to avoid engaging those teeth. We want pain-free mouths, and that's the goal of what we're doing here with (these Pomeranians)."

Parties interested in adopting one of these dogs can request an adoption by filling out an application and adding your name to a waiting list at Foothills Animal Shelter. You will have to visit the shelter to fill out an application. The shelter is open 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, December 31 and closed Sunday, January 1. The shelter will re-open Monday, January 2 at 11 a.m.

Twenty-four dogs are still available for adoption, as some have already been adopted. Foothills transferred four dogs to another shelter, while having to euthanize another four dogs.

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