The Use of Antibiotics Before Teeth Cleaning
Veterinary & Aquatic Services Department, Drs. Foster & Smith

The Use of Antibiotics Before Teeth Cleaning Antibiotics & Dental Cleaning

Q. Why are some dogs and cats placed on antibiotics before they have their teeth cleaned?
A. Dogs and cats with mild tartar and minimal gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) generally do not need to be on antibiotics prior to having a professional teeth cleaning. However, pets with more severe dental disease are often placed on antibiotics several days before the dental cleaning and then for a week or so after.

Pets with more severe dental disease have many more oral bacteria. Their gums also bleed much more easily, since they are inflamed. The bleeding gums and increased numbers of bacteria can be a deadly combination. Bacteria entering the bloodstream can build up on heart valves and in the kidneys and liver. The resulting infections can be extremely serious, often irreversible, and sometimes fatal. Your veterinarian may place your pet on antibiotics to reduce the chance of these infections occurring.

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