Our team continues to be here for you and your cherished pets. We are OPEN and are now able to provide a wide range of services. To learn more about the changes we have implemented in response to COVID-19 and what to expect during your next visit, click here.

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Cat Dental Care

The most common disease to afflict our pets is oral disease, with 85% of animals over the age of two being affected. The most common symptom noticed at home is halitosis (bad breath), but likely means there is more going on – such as gingivitis (red gums), infection, mobile teeth, and/or tooth root abscesses. Your pet may only display subtle symptoms, such as mild lethargy, decreased energy level or willingness to play, chewing on one side of the mouth, dropping food, eating their food slower than usual or avoiding dry kibble when they used to eat it willingly. If your pet is showing any of the above symptoms, he/she should be examined by a veterinarian. We offer a wide range of dental care for your pet, to help them live a long and happy life!

What is involved in a dental cleaning procedure?

Pre-surgical bloodwork is done prior to a dental cleaning. Ideally, it is done the morning of the procedure, before the animal undergoes anesthetic. Pre-surgical blood work is important as dental disease can affect vital internal organs. Bacteria and infection can travel from the mouth through the bloodstream and affect these organs. The kidneys and liver are what filter anesthetic from your pet’s system, so we need to ensure that they are able to tolerate it. Any patient that is to undergo a dental cleaning has to be placed under full anesthetic. This is necessary as it immobilizes your cat and allows the Doctor to do a thorough examination of the mouth and teeth. Anesthetic is also a form of pain control and it gives Doctors the opportunity to clean below the gum line. Before a cat is sedated and placed under anesthetic, a small spot on either front leg is shaved and an IV Catheter is placed. This is how IV Fluids will be administered throughout the procedure and during recovery. An IV Catheter also gives a Doctor access to a vein, so if for any reason a medication needs to be administered immediately it can be given this way directly. A technician will remove tartar and plaque build-up by scaling the teeth with various tools. Once all the teeth are individually cleaned, they are polished. Polishing the teeth help protect and prevent accumulation of plaque build-up. If there are any teeth that are affected by cavities they would need to be removed. A doctor would carefully extract the entire tooth and the roots. Dissolvable suture material would be used to close the open gap in the gums where to tooth used to be. If your cat happens to have any teeth extracted they would require a no-fee follow up within 10-14 days after the procedure to ensure that surgical sites are healing well.

What are signs of dental problems in cats?

Often, we do not see cats show signs of dental problems until the issues have reached advanced stages. Some signs to look for is decreased appetite, difficulties in eating, weight loss, moderate to severe mouth odour, drooling and lethargy.

Are some breeds more susceptible than others?

Yes. Brachycephalic cat breeds like Burmese, Himalayan and Persians are more susceptible to having dental problems. Due to the shorter bones in the face and nose, there is less room for the teeth to be spaced out. Teeth that are overcrowded are prone to more tartar build-up.

What is feline tooth resorption?

Feline Tooth Resorption is a common dental issue found in cats. More than half of cats over the age of 3 have at least one tooth affected by Resorption. It usually starts at the gum line and progresses from there. It erodes the dentin which is the part of the tooth that covers the nerve. Lower jaw premolars are mostly prone to Resorption; however, any tooth can be affected. It is not known what causes Resorption, but there are a couple of theories; Autoimmune Disease, Calicivirus and Metabolic Imbalances relating to calcium regulation. Some cats affected by tooth resorption show signs of pain and jaw spasms when the lesion is touched. Other symptoms can be increased salivation, bleeding or difficulties with eating. The best course of therapy is to extract the entire tooth and roots. X-rays are often used to diagnose and determine what stage and condition a cat’s teeth are in. There are five stages of tooth resorption:

Stage 1: An enamel defect is present and most times the lesion is not as sensitive because it has not entered the dentin yet.
Stage 2: The enamel and dentin are penetrated.
Stage 3: Resorption progresses to the pulp chamber (center of the tooth).
Stage 4: Large amounts of the tooth structure has been destroyed.
Stage 5: Most of the tooth has been resorbed and usually a bump is all that is left and is covered by gum tissue.


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Last updated: June 30, 2020

Dear Clients,

With recent changes to restrictions on businesses, we are pleased to advise that effective June 5, 2020, some restrictions on veterinary practices have been lifted. We are now allowing our clients entry into the building for appointments as of July 2nd, 2020 for those who wish to accompany their pet into the clinic.

Based on these changes, below are some important updates to our operating policies.


This includes vaccines, wellness exams, bloodwork, spays and neuters, dental services, and more!


  • Continue our "closed waiting room" policy to protect our clients and staff. When you arrive, please remain outside the hospital and use your cell phone to call us. For those wishing to come into the clinic, once the veterinarian and the spacious exam room is ready, a staff member will then meet you outside to bring one client (required to wear a facial covering to enter the building) and the pet into the hospital for an examination. The Veterinarian will discuss the patient's history with you in the exam room, any concerns you have, and will then take your pet to the treatment area to perform the physical portion of the exam with the assistance of a support staff member. This is to limit close human contact for both our clients and our staff's safety. Once the physical exam is done and any recommended treatments were given, the Veterinarian will return to the exam room with your pet and answer any remaining questions. After your appointment, a support staff member will meet you in the exam room to take care of any needed medications and payment before escorting you back out of the clinic.
  • Continue offering clients to remain in their vehicle for the duration of the exam and have the Veterinarian provide the consult over the phone for those who prefer this option. A staff member will escort your pet into and out of the building for the appointment and will take care of any payment over the phone or using our portable machine at your vehicle. They will bring any items going home to you at your vehicle.
  • Continue the use of credit cards as the preferred payment method. We do have a portable debit machine if necessary. We are still trying to limit the intake of cash at this time.
  • Continue with solely curbside pickup of food and medication (unless you have used our online store and are having your order delivered directly to your home). To place an order through our online store, visit our website and click on "Online Store".

    If you wish to connect with a veterinarian via message, phone, or video, visit our website and follow the "Online Consultation" link. Please note that due to the high demand for appointments we are now seeing in the clinic, telemedicine options are very limited.


    We are back to our previous regular business hours and are OPEN with the following hours:

    Monday, Thursday: 7:15 am - 9:00 pm
    Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday: 7:15 am - 8:00 pm
    Saturday: 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
    Sunday: CLOSED


    Have you welcomed a new furry family member to your home? We’d love to meet them! Visit our Must Know New Pet Owner Information page for useful resources and helpful recommendations for new pet owners.

    Thank you for your patience and understanding and we look forward to seeing you and your furry family members!

    - Your dedicated team at Dartmouth Veterinary Hospital