When Richard C. noticed that his cat, Misha, was drooling and wincing when she tried to eat, he immediately knew something was wrong. He took the green-eyed, orange tabby to the ASPCA Animal Hospital (AAH), where she was diagnosed with lymphocytic plasmacytic stomatitis, a severe inflammation of the mouth that can also affect the gums. The chronic, rapidly-progressive condition was making it nearly impossible for Misha to eat.
During Misha’s two-hour procedure, Dr. Maren Krafchik extracted 12 teeth, including molars, incisors, baby teeth, and a fractured front canine tooth before closing the gaps in Misha’s gum tissue with dissolvable stitches. Three teeth remain.
“Cats are highly sensitive and prone to inflammatory reactions,” said Dr. Krafchik, noting that Misha’s condition was not uncommon. But she added that treatment with medications alone will not solve the problem; dental work is needed to relieve animals like Misha from inflammation and pain.
One of the most common maladies seen by AAH staff is dental disease. In 2014, our team performed nearly 850 dental procedures on dogs and cats, ranging from simple cleaning and extractions to treatment for advanced periodontal disease.
“Leaving a sick mouth untreated presents major risks,” says Dr. Janice Fenichel, one of 10 veterinarians at AAH who routinely perform dental procedures. Health risks of untreated dental issues in pets include jaw fractures due to bone destruction and damage to organs caused by chronic bacterial infection in the mouth. Kidneys in particular are often injured by untreated oral disease.
“Many pets have multiple diseased teeth,” says Dr. Louise Murray, vice president of AAH. “Pets with dental disease are often in severe pain—imagine having not just one toothache, but many.”
ASPCA veterinarians frequently find inflamed gums in cats. In 75 percent of adult cats, dental problems require extractions. Fractured teeth and periodontal disease are the most common dental problems in dogs seen at AAH.
She stresses dentals “are not about cosmetics,” but rather, “keeping important teeth in your pet’s mouth and keeping your pet comfortable.”
“So often, clients express fear that if their pet loses all of his teeth, ‘How will he manage?’” she adds. “The truth is, after a much-needed dental, they’re eating a lot more comfortably than when they had a mouthful of awful teeth.”
That’s certainly true for Misha, who these days doesn’t let her almost-empty mouth stand in the way of a good meal.
For more information, check out our “Ten Steps to Dental Health” for cats and for dogs.
On December 18, the New Jersey State Legislature unanimously passed S.1870, ASPCA-supported legislation to amend the state’s Pet Purchase Protection Law. The bill would institute new rules for pet stores that sell puppies, including a requirement that these stores inform customers about the sources of the puppies they sell. It would also prohibit pet shops in the Garden State from obtaining puppies from breeders or brokers who fail to comply with even minimal federal and state animal welfare standards.
If signed into law by Governor Chris Christie, the bill will give potential animal owners a chance to make informed decisions, while also putting much-needed pressure on some of the most unethical breeders in the industry to significantly improve their practices. Governor Christie has until early February to sign the bill, and he has yet to reveal his opinion or his intentions.
Thankfully, our friend Jessica Springsteen—an ASPCA Equine Welfare Ambassador, rescue-dog lover and proud New Jerseyan—has stepped up to help by sending a letter to Governor Christie urging him to sign the bill. Governor Christie is a huge fan of Jessica’s dad, and we’re hoping a direct plea from The Boss’s daughter will catch his attention!
The remaining defendants were sentenced for dog fighting offenses and ordered to pay restitutions totaling nearly $2 million to the ASPCA for the care of the dogs seized. The ASPCA is grateful to Assistant U.S. Attorney Clark Morris of the Office of the U.S. Attorney George L. Beck for prosecuting this case to the fullest extent of the law and ensuring that those responsible for the torture of hundreds of animals received due justice.
After more than a year of care from the ASPCA, hundreds of dogs seized during this case have finally moved on to the second chapters of their lives and are now living in loving homes. We hope that this historic case will send a message to those involved in dog fighting that these activities will not be tolerated in our community.
It’s awards show season, and there’s one high-profile ceremony we’re more excited about than any other: the World Dog Awards! We were pleased to take part in this televised event, which was hosted by George Lopez and aired on the CW Network Thursday, January 15. Several dog-loving celebrities appeared, and awards were given in various categories including “America’s Top Mutt” and “Top Movie Dog.”
During the event, the ASPCA presented actor Ian Somerhalder with the “Dog’s Best Friend” award, which is given to a celebrity who has done a great deal to advance dog-related causes and the welfare of homeless dogs. We selected Ian to receive this award because he puts his time, energy, and resources where his heart is: animal welfare. His dedication includes speaking out against animal cruelty, encouraging owners to spay and neuter their pets, supporting animal shelters and providing funding to welfare organizations and agencies that assist animals in crisis. He works on these goals through the Ian Somerhalder Foundation and offers grants to animals in need through the ISF Emergency Medical Grant For Animals. Ian’s work saves lives, and his commitment inspires others to take action and make a difference. The “Dog’s Best Friend” award was presented by actress Holly Robinson Peete.
"Protecting these animals is a priority," Ian said at the ceremony. "Thank you to the ASPCA for all the efforts and setting the bar for the way we should continue to protect animals."
The Wall Street Journal recently asked, “Will 2015 Be the Year of the Chicken?” As it noted, today’s modern meat birds are bred to “live fast, die young,” but consumers are concerned—and put off—by the standard practices of the chicken industry. The ASPCA’s Truth About Chicken campaign is working to improve those practices. With your help, it can be chickens’ big year!
If you haven’t seen this incredible drone footage of a North Carolina industrial pig farm, we recommend it. But maybe wait until after lunch. Factory farming is not just bad for animals; as you’ll see, it wreaks havoc on the environment and local communities, too.
California has been in the news a lot lately, as new state laws took effect on January 1 banning cage confinement for pigs, egg-laying hens and veal calves. This change reflects consumer values and it’s time for it to spread to other states.