Latest News

YOUR PET'S DENTAL HEALTH - What's it all about?
1 September, 2013

In our pets, dirty teeth and gums can lead to periodontal disease. This is a disease of the supporting structures of the tooth, gingiva (gum), periodontal ligaments (the ligaments holding the teeth in place) and alveolar bone (in which the teeth sit). Periodontal disease is irreversible and results in the extraction of effected teeth.

So how do our pets’ teeth get to this stage and what can we do to prevent it?

A new layer of plaque accumulates on teeth every 12 to 24 hours. Due to its biofilm mechanics, plaque can only be removed mechanically. If this plaque is not removed, it becomes mineralised to form calculus. The surface of calculus if very rough, which in turn facilitates further plaque build-up.

This layer of plaque is not just present on the visible surfaces of the teeth, but develops in the gingival sulcus (i.e. just under the gum line). The plaque is filled with billions of bacteria. Subsequently our pets get red, swollen gums, which is the inflammation brought about by the presence of the bacterial plaque. This is called gingivitis and it is reversible with a dental scale and polish procedure. Once gingivitis is present, we know that subgingival plaque exists and that the only way to remove this is with subgingival debridement (i.e. manually removing the plaque from under the gum line). This cannot be performed on a cat or a dog without a general anaesthesia as the sharp instruments that are used are a danger to a wriggly animal who would not understand what is being done to him or her.

If a dental scale and polish is not performed at this stage, then the reversible gingivitis progresses to irreversible periodontal disease, where the subginigival inflammation from the plaque and bacteria leads to loss of gingival attachment and ligamentous support for the tooth. Eventually this will lead to bone destruction. Once the teeth have reached this stage, they usually require extraction.

Chronic periodontal disease is not just a problem for the oral cavity. With so much bacteria present under the gum, the cat or dog will experience intermittent bacteraemia (i.e. bacteria in the blood stream) which can affect the heart and the kidneys, which are the body’s two main blood-receiving organs.

If a cat or dog already has good teeth or the teeth have just been cleaned in a dental procedure, then a prevention protocol can be put in place. It involves the following:


Daily brushing is ideal. Plaque forms within 12 to 24 hours, so if you brush your cat or dog’s teeth once a day, then you will be giving them a good chance of avoiding the development of plaque. Finger brushes or a coarse face washer or gauze over the finger are best. A special pet toothpaste is required as human toothpaste contains fluoride, which should not be swallowed. Please never use human toothpaste on animals.


Hill’s Prescription Diet T/D or Royal Canin Dental

Presciption dental foods are dry biscuits where the kibble is prepared in large pieces with a fibre matrix that resists crumbling. This way the kibble works its way over the tooth before it breaks up and therefore cleans the surface of the tooth. For most cats and dogs, Hill’s Prescription Diet T/D or Royal Canin Dental can be fed as a sole maintenance food (there are exceptions for patients that are on other prescription diets for specific conditions).


For cats and dogs that definitely will not allow brushing, their teeth can be rinsed twice a week with Hexarinse, which is a 0.2% chlorhexidine solution. This helps reduce the bacterial load on the teeth.


We do not recommend bones as a component in homecare oral health. They do not work as well as brushing and dental food, and in many cases make teeth worse. We see many fractures and worn teeth from bone chewers and therefore we end up performing dental procedure because of bones. As well as this, we also see flatulence, constipation or diarrhoea, and occasional obstruction when animals are given bones. They are not worth it.

FOR DENTAL MONTH – Our first 10 pets booked for a dental in Dental Month will receive HALF-PRICE pre-anaesthetic blood testing! Normally priced at $96.50, this test is not only important prior to an anaesthetic in order to assess organ function, but it is important to get baseline values for your pet in order to monitor them for any future or ongoing medical conditions.

1 September, 2013

From Dr Kirsty

Often in my work when I am discussing dental care with pet owners, I regularly hear the comment that dogs and cats in the wild do not receive dental care. This is true, but it should also be pointed out that wild dogs and cats get the same dental pathologies that our domestic dogs and cats get and they do not live anywhere near as long. If this is the standard that we want for our pets, then we would not worry so much about oral healthcare, but I believe that most of us, if not all of us, want our beloved pets to live as long as possible (I’m sure most of us wished that they could live as long as we do).

Essential pet dental care:

 Yearly dental checks for all cats and dogs, twice yearly checks for cats and small dogs over the age of 7.

 Premium quality dental food incorporated into diet (Hill’s Prescription Diet T/D or Royal Canin Dental)

 Daily brushing with a finger brush and pet toothpaste.

To find out more about maintaining your pet’s dental health and to see our HALF-PRICE BLOOD TESTING OFFER FOR DENTAL MONTH, please read on in the ‘Pet Dental Health’ post!

30 May, 2013

The local community has been outraged by the thoughtless vandalism perpetrated by a pair of dangerous youths. These CCTV images show the youths raiding the clinic, before basking in their glory by occupying Norman's bed. Bardon local, Imogen, saw the attack and calmly tried to talk one of the youths out of Norman's bed. Clinic owner and Veterinarian, Dr Kirsty, reported "We are all frightened! Clearly these youths are from a local gang, with pink being their signature colour."

Fido, where did you come from?
10 May, 2013

Canine DNA Testing is now available!

DNA Testing is not a new thing. It's been around for some time - we've all watched CSI or Law and Order using it to catch the crooks (and in record time we might point out) to know this. However, it is now readily available to our canine companions and with pretty impressive results. While it won't tell you why your dog won't eat it's gourmet treats, but happily gnaw on a stick (or worse...). Or why they love swimming at the beach but run for cover when the shampoo and hairdryer make an appearance. But what it will tell you, is what has gone into making your little curly tailed, floppy eared, long-nosed, googly eyed friend who they are.

With years of extensive research, expertise of leading scientists, veterinarians, universities and breed organisations throughout the world, the Advance Mixed Breed Identification DNA Database has developed genetic signatures for over 200 breeds, types and varieties of Fido - developed from more than 10,000 purebred pooches.

More than 99% of genetic material is common to all breeds of dogs, but there are subtle differences between breeds and most of which come in the form of a SNP (a single-nucleotide polymorphism - a single base (nucleotide) change). Different breeds have different SNP patterns - some SNP's are only found in select breeds, with others found commonly amongst many breeds. It takes just one little old SNP to cause a significant difference in your pup's appearance.

Interesting (and somewhat confusing) yes? Well the good news is that it's literally as simple as taking a blood sample, sending it off to the USA and within 21 days, you have a customised and detailed report. Think:
Breed Family Tree 
Detailed description and histories of each breed detected
Recommended nutrition and exercise program, and  
Breed Ancestry Certificate

What do we get out of this, we hear you ask. Being animals doctors and not fortune-tellers, it gives us a sneak peek into a canine crystal ball in regards to potential health issues that your pet may encounter. We can discuss with you breed-specific diseases that are more likely to be of concern with your pet, help inform you of the associated screening, treatment and costs. It allows us to create customised nutrition and wellness plans, avoid medications that can cause health issues, plus take preventative care measures and recognise early signs of genetic disease.

So if you've wondered what makes up Fido, or Fluffy is having some sleepless nights with unanswered questions of 'Who am I' and 'Why is my bottom so boofy?', give us a call on (07) 3613 9644!

Bring your dog in for a visit
16 April, 2013

You don’t only need to visit the vet clinic when your dog requires medical attention. It’s actually beneficial for your dog to make positive associations with their vet clinic so that they are not nervous and resistant at those times when they require treatment. Here at Toowong Family Vet, we love friendly visits and we will give your dog treats laced with kisses and cuddles every time they drop by! At Toowong Family Vet, kisses and cuddles are always free!