Monday, February 8, 2010

Dental Disease for Pets and Profits for Vets

February is Dental Awareness Month in the national veterinary industry.  One could laugh at the irony that professionals who cause the problem profit from treating it, if the problem were not so serious. 

Dental disease is present in approximately 85% of dogs and 75% of cats 2 years of age and older. Plaque and tartar can accumulate on pet’s teeth and invade under the gums to cause gingivitis and periodontal disease.

Dr. Larry Corry, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) says, "In fact, veterinarians report that periodontal disease is the most commonly diagnosed problem in dogs and cats. This can lead to painful infections of the mouth, and in severe cases these infections can spread and become life-threatening conditions.”

Why should the vast majority of pets have serious dental disease?  Simple.  Because they are fed commercial pet foods that coat their teeth with gummy sludge that harbors bacteria that infect gums.    Pets fed kibble and canned mush have no way to clean their teeth.  Owners are urged to brush pets’ teeth daily, as though cats will sit still for tooth brushing and as though owners can effectively brush all the surfaces of their dog’s teeth, daily.  Vets know it’s not happening, so they mobilize their practices to profit from Dental Awareness Month. 

Without embarrassment, vets nationwide offer discounts to clean your suffering pet’s teeth, under anesthesia.  Note that vets put pets to sleep to clean their teeth, because pets don't cooperate with teeth cleaning, but you are told to clean your pet's teeth daily.  Cleaning your pet’s teeth will cost around $300.  The vet will sell you Hill’s Science Diet to begin the vicious cycle again for next year’s Dental Awareness Month for Pets.  Destroying your pet’s dental health for another year with Hill's kibble will cost you about $2/pound. 

How bad is the epidemic of periodontal disease?  According to Dr. Henry Childers, DVM, the president of the American Veterinary Dental Association, "Oral disease is the most frequently diagnosed health problem for pets. Just as the public has come to realize that their own oral health is linked to their overall health, veterinarians want people to understand that dental health care is essential to maintaining the overall health and well-being of the family pet.

"Periodontal Disease is one of the most common occurring conditions, especially in our older pets. The disease begins from the accumulation of plaque that forms on the teeth after eating. This is largely responsible for resulting in "stinky breath" which often becomes unbearable. If the buildup of plaque is permitted to continue unchecked, gingivitis results with gums becoming red and inflamed.
"Left untreated, gums recede, teeth become unstable with tooth loss and abscess formation occurring. Due to the abundance of bacteria forming on teeth and gums, which is highly accessible to the pets blood stream, internal organs can become infected, which may cause systemic conditions such as kidney failure, liver and heart disease.”  Thank you, Dr. Childers.
Now for the best part.  Dental Awareness Month for Pets is sponsored by Hill’s Pet Care.  Nationwide advertising and vet-clinic promotions for dental treatment are paid for by an enormous pet-food company that sells the products that cause pets’ periodontal disease.  In addition, Hill’s pet foods are piled high in vet clinics and generate up to 40% of vets’ profits.  What a great partnership!  Hill’s foods cause dental disease, so they advertise to get pet owners to the vet to pay for teeth cleaning, and to buy more Hill’s kibbles and canned mush on their way out.  It’s hard to imagine a more sinister and damaging partnership than veterinarians and Hill’s Pet Care. 
Imagine that Mars or Hershey partnered with dentists to promote sugary candies for children.   Suppose that dentist offices sold candy bars and recommended them as daily foods for children.  When children developed dental caries, candy companies could sponsor Dental Awareness Month for Kids and urge parents to bring kids to the dentist to get their cavities filled.  We would be outraged if dentists collaborated with candy companies to push candy for children and had the audacity to profit from the damage done to kids’ teeth.  Well, that’s exactly what vets are doing to our pets.
Wolves and pets fed raw-meaty-bones do not have dental disease.   Gnawing on meaty bones cleans wolf, dog, and cat teeth and keeps their mouths healthy.  Preventing oral disease in pets is easy – just give them Nature’s toothbrush, raw-meaty-bones.  Their teeth will stay bright white and their gums a healthy, salmon pink from puppyhood to old age.


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  2. I have no idea what this Chinese saying means, even when it is translated into English.