Friday, December 23, 2011

Canine "Cavity" Update: No More Bones for the Dog

Readers may recall that my dog, Molly, has a cavity that I've been monitoring and trying to heal with a low-carb lacto-paleo diet a la Weston A. Price and Drs. Mellanby. The tooth recently started looking worse, so I took Molly to see a new vet (one closer to home).

Dr. Poundstone reminded me of some of the CPAs I work with: pleasant, professional and down-to-earth. She said that she saw very few dogs with true cavities, and most of those were from grainy tooth-cleaning "bones" made in China. The "bones" are so acid that it's like giving your dog a Coke--and the results are the same: cavities.

Without an x-ray, she couldn't be sure, but the vet believed that Molly had some flaws in her enamel instead of a cavity. She said that chewing on bones (actual bones, not fake ones) could cause this, making some grooves in the tooth, which is exactly what Molly developed. Dogs' teeth have only 1 millimeter of enamel, compared to 4 millimeters on humans, she added. Dr. Poundstone recommended rawhide instead. Molly also has some calculus buildup and minor gingivitis.

I was impressed that the vet said Molly's mostly paleo diet of real food was fine. (I have a scale and a spreadsheet for Molly to make sure I don't overfeed her.) She said Molly was overweight (however, she's lost five pounds), and I said that if I feed Molly less than 700 calories a day, she eats her own poop. The vet recommended green beans as something filling but low-calorie. An underactive thyroid can make a dog overweight, but the vet doubted that was Molly's problem because she also had such a thick, shiny coat.

The Plan: no more bones for Molly. She's scheduled for a dental cleaning, and Dr. Poundstone believes that the tooth can be smoothed out and filled in.

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