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Lost your dog? Find a lost or injured animal? Here are important contact numbers in Santa Fe and Santa Fe County:
In the city limits, Animal Services is at 955-2701. On weekends and holidays, call SFPD dispatch at 955-2700.
In the county, Animal Control is at 992-1626. On weekends and holidays, call Sheriff's dispatch at 428-3720.
Still unsure about what to do to find your lost pet? Read these tips put together by Scoop member Julie.
Suspect an animal might be suffering from abuse? Call the toll-free statewide hot line for reporting extreme cruelty to animals at 1-877-548-6263.
Have a favorite animal-related link? Let me know at email@example.com and I'll post it here.
Animal Protection of New Mexico
Animal Shelter Tips Blog
All Creatures Memorials
Best Friends Animal Sancturary
Bridging the Worlds Animal Sanctuary
Cat Spay of Santa Fe
City of Santa Fe Animal Services
Desert Paws - news from Cochiti Lake
New Mexico House Rabbit Society
New Mexico Independent Border Collie Rescue
New Mexico Mustang and Burro Association
Pet Loss Support Page
Santa Fe Border Collie Club
Santa Fe Animal Shelter and Humane Society
Santa Fe Dog Park blog
Save the Chimps
Shaking Wind Ranch
Southwest Llama Rescue
The Wildlife Center
Sara Lewis, protective eye gear and mask in place, homes in on decay – a dark sheen of plaque that needs to come off. The tiny Chihuahua is deep asleep, possibly dreaming of chasing critters instead of what’s been attacking her canines.
The machine makes a soft hum and whirls, as Lewis aims at the dog’s tooth, water gently cleansing the gums.
“You should have seen it before,” Lewis, the Santa Fe animal shelter’s medical director says. “You wouldn’t believe the change.”
But Lewis isn’t done with the little dog. A tooth needs to come out, not unusual for the tiny breed. “It’s been loose for some time, and that causes pain when he eats. So we’re going to take it out so he’ll be happier.”
The clinic staff does more than 10 dentals per week, which can range from simple teeth scaling or cleaning to multiple and almost whole-mouth extractions.
Dental disease, Lewis notes, is a quiet but persistent enemy of all pets, and quite common among companion animals. And while cleaning pets’ teeth may seem like a luxury to some, it’s become a necessity at many shelters, including Santa Fe’s.
“We’re fortunate that we do have a dental machine,” she says. “And for these guys, it just gives them a better chance for adoption. It helps the adopter out so they don’t have quite as big of an expense when they take them home.”
Dental disease can cause damage to other organs, including a pet’s heart, and create a variety of health problems. It’s estimated that four out of five dogs over the age of 3 have some sort of periodontal disease.
Kris Bannon of Veterinary Dentistry & Oral Surgery of New Mexico, said her practice sees a variety of periodontal diseases – plaque buildup and gingivitis — along with broken teeth and orthodontic problems, especially among shelter animals, where the teeth aren’t lined up because of a broken jaw or deformity. Many of the dental problems are preventable.
“Just like with people, some are more prone to disease than others,” she said. “In general, the smaller the dog or cat the more they are prone to periodontal disease.”
Smaller dogs, Bannon said, have teeth that are larger proportionally than bigger breeds. “We have genetically shrunk the dog and changed the mouth, but we didn’t shrink the teeth in proportion. Their teeth are too big and they are crowded together and there is not enough bone support.”
On the other hand, larger dogs tend to break their teeth chewing on things or trying to escape.
Cats and dogs have always had dental issues but people tend to notice them more now, Bannon said, because animals have become such a part of our lives. They are in the homes and sleeping on the beds or on couches.
“It used to be that we considered doggy breath normal, but we now recognize that doggy breath is actually infection,” she said. “Doggy breath is not normal; doggy breath is periodontal disease and that’s a problem.”
At the Santa Fe animal shelter, dental cleaning has become a common standard of care, Lewis said. So when they shelter’s 5-year-old dental unit kept breaking and eventually was not repairable, the clinic quickly needed to replace it.
“We used it almost about every day,” said Jennifer Steketee, the shelter’s executive director and former medical director. “Dental care really is an important part of animal care, and being able to provide basic dental procedures to our homeless animals is critical.”
A dental unit runs about $6,500 – an unexpected expense. The shelter has created a crowd-funding site to raise money for the machine. A dental unit consists of a scaler, a drill and a polisher. It allows the clinic staff to provide a range of dental services. To find out how you can help, visit www.youcaring.com/santafeanimalshelterhumanesociety-912474
Lewis said the more people are aware of dental disease and how we can keep our animals healthy, the better it is for the animals and their families. On the shelter side, Lewis said, the staff does the best it can.
“Shelters across the country are working on it, but funding is always an issue,” she said. “And these dental machines cost a ton of money. A lot of times, these animals who come to us haven’t had the best care. Some of them haven’t had any kind of vet care for that matter. So we might as well give them a ‘paw up.’ ”
Pet owners can help prevent dental issues by being more observant of their pet’s behavior and getting in the habit of brushing the teeth of their dog or cat, Bannon said. She sees daily sessions as an opportunity to bond.
“We as pet owners have to be proactive and look for those problems,” she said. “Animals don’t know that if they show signs of weakness, we will help them. They think if they show signs of weakness, we’re going to throw them away or get rid of them or lower their status in the pack.”
Bannon will be the featured guest at this Friday’s talk at Teca Tu’s monthly Pawsworthy Pub Hour. The event, which features refreshments and snacks for both two- and four-legged guests, runs from 5-7 p.m. at the pet store in the DeVargas Center mall. Bannon will answer questions about pet-dental issues.
If You Go
What: Pet dental health
When: Friday, 5-7 p.m.
Where: Teca Tu, DeVargas Center Mall, 165 Paseo de Peralta, Santa Fe
Who: Kris Bannon, Veterinary Dentistry & Oral Surgery
To Help Shelter Animals
Donate to the shelter’s fundraising drive for a dental unit at www.youcaring.com/santafeanimalshelterhumanesociety-912474
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