|Welcome to the American Whippet Club|
1996 American Whippet Club Whippet Annual
Pages 26 through 50
Ch. Pennyworth Frequent Flyer
( Ch. Allerei’s Tax Refund x Ch. Willcare’s Aged In Wood )
Watch for Miles’ spring litter
(Ch. Cyrano’s Perfect Stranger ex Ch. Cyrano’s Delta Dawn)
“Vite” will be finished by the time this magazine comes out,
One the following three pages, our favorite “Ruby” children,
“Ruby” x CH. Sporting Field’s Kinsman
We are very proud of Ruby and her kids!
CH. Sporting Field Shades O’Autumn
1988 – 1998
“If you get there before I do,
My “What a Whippet”. Wait for me with Fancy at the Rainbow bridge.
Wynmor Chez Suave SC
Dental Care in the WhippetLisa M. Costello, DVM
Dental disease is the most common health problem in domestic dogs and cats. Periodontal disease is present in the vast majority of dogs over four years of age and 85% of those dogs have irreversible damage to their tooth supporting structures. The purpose of this article is to increase your understanding of the anatomy of the mouth and the progression of periodontal disease which will make prevention and diagnosis of mouth problems easier for you as a whippet owner. Most dental problems are completely preventable or treatable with proper home dental care and routine professional cleaning.
The surface of teeth in the normal whippet is usually smooth and glistening white. There are 28 deciduous or puppy teeth and 42 permanent teeth. They are as follows:
Puppy: 12 incisors, 4 canines, 8 premolars & 4 molars
It is necessary to understand the normal anatomy of teeth and gums so problems can be readily identified and the importance of home dental care can be emphasized. All teeth are similar structurally although they will differ in size, shape, and function. A mature tooth has a crown and one or more roots, depending on which tooth it is. The crown of the tooth (the part of the tooth we can see) is covered with enamel, a very dense, smooth tissue. The root (which we should not be able to see in a healthy mouth) is covered with a thin layer of a material called cementum. Cementum is a mineralized, bloodless connective tissue that covers the roots of teeth. The periodontal ligament connects the tooth to bone and provides some of the “shock absorption” the mouth needs while undergoing chewing stresses. The pulp cavity is the deepest and most sensitive layer of the tooth and it holds the blood and nerve supply that keeps the tooth healthy and alive. The teeth are seated into the jaw by way of a special layer of bone called alveolar bone. This is the bone that lines the tooth sockets. The gingiva or “gums” overly the bony parts of the skull and surround the tooth itself. The gingival sulcus is the shallow crevice or space around the tooth. This structure becomes extremely important in the development of periodontal disease.
The canine teeth are the largest teeth. With the mouth closed in a normal scissors bite, the lower canine tooth is located between the upper canine and the upper third incisor teeth. The roots of the canine teeth are single but very large and long, often up to twice as long as the crown. The incisors are usually the smallest teeth in the whippet mouth and are located between the canine teeth in the front of the mouth. The premolar and molar teeth lie behind the canines on the lateral sides of the mouth. In the dog they are numbered as follows (PM stands for premolar and M stands for molar). You can see these teeth in Photo 1:
Upper: PM1 PM2 PM3 PM4 M1 M2
Lower: PM1 PM2 PM3 PM4 M1 M2 M3
Upper PM4 and lower M1 are the large carnassial or shearing teeth. These are the largest and most obvious of the cheek teeth. They provide a shearing or scissors action for chewing food. The upper 4th premolar and first and second molars in dogs are multi-rooted, having 3 roots each. Other premolars have 2 roots each. We are fortunate in the Whippet breed to not have a significant problem with inherited missing teeth. There are many breeds where missing premolars have become a normal occurrence due to not selecting against this trait (Dobermans, Ibizan Hounds).
Physical examination of the mouth should start with baby puppies and continue for the life of the dog. Even though you may not brush puppy teeth (until permanent teeth are in place), it is important for them to get used to having their mouths opened and examined. Gentleness and patience are a must. Using treats and positive reinforcement will make the experience much more pleasant and successful. Mouth shyness in the show ring or in the vets office is a very difficult thing to break in an older dog. It is sad when a patient has to be sedated simply to examine it’s mouth.
Physical examination of the mouth begins with assessment of the face, mouth and skull from a distance. Do you notice drooling, bad breath, abnormal swallowing or rapid tongue movement? Is a dog normally willing to open it’s mouth now unwilling or unable? Are the two sides of the head and mouth symmetrical? Comparison of both sides can be one of the best ways to determine if abnormalities are present.
Next look at the gums and lips. The inside of the lips and surface of the gingiva should be light pink (in a non-pigmented dog), glistening, covered with a thin layer of saliva and non-painful to the touch. You can evaluate capillary refill time (CRT) by blanching an area of pink gum with a finger or thumb and counting how long it takes to refill (less than 2 seconds is normal). If the dog will allow you to open it’s mouth, place one hand on top the muzzle and the index finger and thumb just behind the upper canine teeth. Use the other hand to open the lower jaw by placing a finger on the lower row of incisors or just behind the lower canines. You do not need to open very far to evaluate the teeth closest to you and the end of the tongue. With a willing dog you should be able to open the mouth to the fullest extent and evaluate the furthest teeth (molars) in addition to the back of the tongue and the deepest areas of the mouth adjacent to the opening of the trachea and esophagus. Look at each tooth if possible and evaluate the crown (is it fractured, discolored, missing, bloody?), the gum surrounding it and any abnormal swellings, ulcers or masses that may be present (Photo 2). If you notice any abnormalities, it is best have your dog’s mouth fully evaluated by your veterinarian.
Routine examination of your Whippet’s mouth can not be emphasized enough. There are many different systemic diseases, types of cancer and trauma that can cause significant disease of the mouth and surrounding tissues. Unfortunately the mouth of a dog is probably one of the most ignored areas by owners due to their unfamiliarity with that part of their dogs anatomy and their discomfort at trying to examine an unwilling participant. The mouth of your dog should be examined as often as any other body part (i.e. if you are clipping, bathing, brushing or doing anything else to your whippet for showing, coursing or general health then you should be looking into their mouth as well). All too often the main reason for a dog to present to the veterinarian for a dental exam is a horrendous odor emanating from the dog’s mouth. If you wait until this is the case, you may be looking at permanent and irreversible periodontal disease and possible tooth loss.
Periodontal disease is the most common disease entity in dogs and cats. This problem typically begins to develop at 1 to 2 years of age in the dog and it has been estimated that 85% of dogs greater than 4 years of age have irreversible damage to their periodontal structures. Periodontal disease is caused by an accumulation of bacterial plaque on the teeth and adjacent gum tissue. It is a progressive, usually nonregenerative and incurable disease if plaque is not controlled, but can be preventable and manageable with proper treatment techniques. Factors that predispose dogs to early periodontal disease include:
• age (older dogs are more likely to have problems)
We have all seen (or smelled) that nasty little Poodle or Yorkie mouth that could clear a vets office in a minute flat. Fortunately the Whippet does not have a strong breed predilection for periodontal disease, but I do believe there can be familial tendencies within any breed.
The main area of focus for the development of periodontal disease is the “neck” of the tooth, or the area where the tooth meets the gum line. This is the area where the mechanical stress of the jaws and teeth are accommodated yet attachment is maintained. It is in this area that plaque can be retained and gingival infection can begin. Plaque is a soft, cream-gray combination of oral bacteria, saliva and decomposing food particles (and in the case of most whippets......fecal material!). Many people do not notice plaque as it tends to be relatively colorless. Plaque is not the hard calculus or tartar that we usually see, but the substance that predisposes to tartar. Plaque can not be removed by water alone, it must be removed by the diet or mechanically by means of hand instruments, a toothbrush or other oral hygiene aids. If not removed, plaque will mineralize and eventually become hard tartar. As the process continues, the underlying soft tissue structures
that attach the tooth to the gum (periodontal ligament) begin to break down with decay. Once the gum tissue is detached from the tooth, the condition is irreversible (see Photo 3). The most common and obvious sign of periodontal disease is halitosis or bad breath. Even when tartar is not obvious, bacteria and the toxins they produce are trapped under the gum line. The most common place to find tartar is the upper carnassial teeth and the molars immediately adjacent to them.
Chronic oral infection from periodontal disease will make the body less able to resist other diseases. Untreated dental problems can progress until the infection has contaminated the jaws and/or nasal passages If chronic oral infection enters the blood stream, it will travel to and localize in the least healthy organ and weaken an old dog that is in otherwise stable condition. This is especially true in older dogs with heart murmurs and cardiac disease. The edges of dysfunctional heart valves can become infected with systemic bacteria from chronic mouth infections causing a serious condition known as endocarditis. Thus the older the dog, the more important routine periodic professional care becomes. As in most cases, it is better to prevent what disease we can in our older dogs mouths, rather than having to anesthetize them regularly for professional cleaning to keep their mouths healthy.
Home Dental Care
Is it important to brush all your dog’s teeth? Only the ones you wish to save! Home dental care is one of the most important defenses you have to prevent periodontal infection, tooth loss and systemic disease in your dog. There are several aspects to a home dental program that help you keep your dog’s mouth healthy and infection free. Correct feeding habits, routine chewing exercise and regular tooth brushing all contribute to keeping teeth and gums healthy and tartar free. While routine home care does take time and effort, starting a home care program at any age is certainly better than never starting one at all. Once established, a home dental care program can become part of the regular schedule you have for the care of your Whippet(s).
The single best investment you can make while pursuing longevity for your dog is high quality nutrition. Many veterinary dentists feel the best food for the teeth of a dog is dry kibble because, although it can’t offer abrasion below the gum line, it does help remove soft deposits from the crown surface - hard treats are similarly beneficial. Chewing exercises also help by offering abrasion to the enamel surface. It is safest to have dogs chew on items softer than the teeth - rawhides, hard rubber toys, etc. Dogs with strong oral orientation (Labradors come to mind) can kill their teeth by injuring tooth root blood vessels or they can break their teeth while chewing on bones and other hard objects. One local veterinary dentist likes to tell the story of how the introduction of cow hooves as chew treats helped fund a trip to Hawaii for his entire family due to all the slab fractures they caused on the carnassial teeth of dogs (see Photo 4). The choice of chewing objects is an area of debate among most veterinarians. Many vets have surgically removed at least one impacted rawhide from the intestinal tract of a dog, and many have also encountered chipped and broken teeth from overzealous chewing of hard objects. However, the cleanest teeth I see on adult dogs are always associated with marrow bone chewing and I believe dogs that do not inhale rawhide objects can benefit greatly from their abrasive effects on teeth. I do recommend both rawhides and supervised marrow bone chewing to my clients.
Brushing your dogs teeth can begin at any age and should continue for the life of the dog. If your dog already has a significant amount of tartar built up, I recommend having a professional cleaning done and beginning your brushing program with a clean mouth.
The first step in introducing brushing is to work with your pets mouth, using love, praise and positive reinforcement to gain confidence. You can start with your fingers, covered with a cheesecloth or gauze and progress to a toothbrush. If you try to start with a large, uncomfortable brush, most dogs unfamiliar with the process will be very frightened and have an unpleasant experience. I find that made-for-canine brushes tend to be a bit large for my Whippet’s mouths so I buy small, soft children’s brushes (they currently have one in Day-Glo green). Regardless of the method used, the most important area to be brushed is the tooth/gum interface. Hold the brush at a 45 degree angle and use a parallel back and forth motion (see Photo 5). Concentrate most heavily on the carnassial teeth and back molars. Try to brush each tooth, inside and out. Conscientious brushing at regular and frequent intervals can make the difference between saving and losing teeth and can provide for longer intervals between professional care. The frequency of brushing is individual dog dependent and will be determined by how fast your dog accumulates plaque (based on food choice, chewing habits, fecal ingestion, etc.). Most toy breeds need daily brushing while many other dogs can be maintained on once or twice a week intervals.
There are several types of products available to help with home dental care (see Photo 6). Animal and human dentrifices or toothpaste’s operate on similar principles - they contain abrasive or oxidizing agents. Abrasive agents mechanically remove dental deposits from tooth surfaces and oxidizing agents provide an inhospitable environment for bacteria. It is better to use canine toothpaste’s as most human products contain detergents that upset the canine stomach. Toothpaste’s specifically formulated for dogs are also safer for the geriatric set than sodium laden baking soda or garlic salt. You can also use dental sprays and gels that contain enzymes to breakdown the bacterial by-products that cause halitosis and plaque. I use both a dental spray (CET) and canine toothpaste on a weekly basis for my Whippets.
One additional method that many dog people choose to use for home dental care is the tartar scraper. The tartar scraper is a metal object with a flat head or sickle point at one end. It can be used to chip large pieces of tartar off teeth as well as scraping the accumulation of plaque at gumline. However, a word of caution if this is the sole method of dental care you use: when used alone, without brushing or professional cleaning, the tartar scraper is not enough for proper gingival care . The subgingival plaque and bacteria will remain after the large deposits of tartar are removed and periodontal disease will still be present. Many veterinary dentists also feel that repeated scraping of the enamel surface with metal instruments will scratch the surface of the enamel, damage the delicate tooth/gum interface and actually encourage tartar accumulation through enamel damage. Thus, brushing teeth should follow any type of tartar scraping.
In addition to a solid home dental care program, it is important to realize that routine professional dental examination and care is necessary. A complete professional cleaning involves the use of general anesthesia and ultrasonic cleaning, not simply hand scaling with an awake patient. During a professional cleaning, periodontal pockets can be measured, cavities and enamel defects can be probed and a complete examination of the mouth can be performed. Subgingival infections can be detected and treated before permanent damage to delicate epithelial attachment occurs. Why wait until there is irreversible damage and/or severe infection? As in humans, preventative dentistry is the best way to assure optimum health in your Whippet. Happy Brushing!
Ch. Merci Isle Dreamy Draw, FCh.
“Pan” had a great year, won the breed the only time shown under one of my mentors, Isabell Stoffers.
SMART • ATHLETIC • BEAUTIFUL
MERCI ISLE • Iva & Jeffrey Kimmelman • Stow, Massachusetts
Ch. Merci Isle A Distant Mirror, SC
“Look” has been one of our most admired bitches. We agree! She finished under such judges as
Iva & Jeffrey Kimmelman • 165 Gleasondale Rd, Stow, MA 01775
Ch. Merci Isle Light The Way
(Ch. Sporting Fields N’Erin Piano Man x Ch. Merci Isle Sally Forth, SC)
“Torch’s” class career was brief and to the point.
voice/fax: 978-897-8950 • email: email@example.com • or 978-371-7072
Seafire Whippets . . . . . . 1998
88 North End Road, Townsend, MA 01469
Mid-Atlantic Whippet Assn
Merci Isle Honeydripper, SC
I’ll be seeing you in all the old familiar places
– Irving Kahal
Owned, loved and missed by
Ch. Merci Isle Sleight of Hand, LCM, SC, CR, CGC
(DC Bitterblue’s Loco Weed, CD, SC, LCM, ROM, CGC x FC Merci Isle Wink of an Eye)
Bred by Jean McCord and Iva Kimmelman
Can.Ch. Deep Woods Shadows and Light, JC, FCh.
DC Gold-Dust’s Gilty As Charged, MC, FCh, CR
Dual Ch. Bitterblue’s Loco Weed, CD, LCM, SC, CGC, ROMX*
10 April 1987 – 30 October 1998
Goodbye Wilbur. A thousand years wouldn’t have been enough time . . .
Paul & Linda and the Bitterblue Whippets
Autumn & Summit
Summit Autumn Gabardine Martin went BISweeps both days,
Diamond’s dam “Melody” will be bred in May to CH. SUMMIT SIR IVAN
Copyright © 2005, American Whippet Club, All Rights Reserved.