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I have a little 8 year old Chihuahua who has the beginning stages of heart disease. She has a grade 2 heart murmur and a bit of plaque on one of her valves. She has had it for at least a year (maybe 2-3 years) and has no symptoms and is not on any medication.

She has quite a bit of tartar build-up on her teeth. The tops of her white teeth are now a yellow-y brown so she needs to get her teeth cleaned. However, that means she needs to get sedated with anesthesia. I am wondering what are people’s experience with their dogs with heart disease and dental cleanings? Is it worth the risk? I am so scared that she will not make it out of the anesthesia alive. I know that even completely healthy dogs die during dental cleanings so it makes me more nervous to get her teeth cleaned now that I know her heart is weak. But of course I know she can get worse diseases and problems if she does not get her teeth cleaned.

If anyone is wondering, her teeth were last cleaned about 5 years ago but her teeth really weren't that bad until a few months ago. Vets kept saying she could wait to get her teeth cleaned but now they are saying she really needs it done.

Also, if I do get my dog’s teeth cleaned it will be with a veterinary dentist.


I am just looking for people’s experiences with their dogs with heart disease getting dental cleanings. Like, did you opt out of a dental and why?

Or did your dog get a dental and everything was fine?

Also did you get your dog checked out by a veterinary cardiologist before getting the dental done?

I would just like to know any and all information you could give me on dogs with heart disease getting sedated dental cleanings. Thank you :)
 

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Hi,

I was reading about your chihuahua and thought that you might want to look into this program that will save you money on your trips to the vet for check ups. The program will give you discounts on vet visits, medication, and even food. I know times are hard these days and I try to save money whenever I can. I hope this helps you!!!

DR Smart Phone MD
 

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My parents' 10 year Chihuahua with heart disease could really use a good dental cleaning, but we are not willing to put him under for it. The risk just seems too great.
 

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I would trust your vet. If they are recommending this surgery and know she isn't on meds, I am sure they will monitor her extra closely. Have you asked them about putting her on meds, though, for a period prior to the surgery?

Dentals aren't just for aesthetics--plaque can go systemic and affect body organs, absesses can cause exteme pain and cause sepsis, jaw bones, esp in small dogs, run the risk of fracture with major dental disease, eating is painful etc. I would encourage you to get the dental done.

ETA--forgot to say, heart conditions tend to worsen--if your dog is only grade II now and doesn't even require meds yet, I'd definitely get the dental done asap and then maintain his dental health (daily) with brushing. If you're good about taking care of his teeth after they get a full dental, you could likely eliminate the need for another dental later in his life when his heart condition may be more severe. The other thing you might want to address after the dental is his diet; I've noticed much greater tartar buildup in dogs eating poorer quality foods.
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