Volume 63 | May 2022

Altadena Valley Animal Clinic
    2898 Acton Road - Birmingham, AL 35243

Dental Care: How Dental X-Rays Add To A Pet’s Care

It’s no surprise that AVAC is passionate about your pet’s health and happiness when it comes to dental care. We frequently write about the importance of regular dental exams and professional cleanings. This month we are excited to announce the addition of our new, state-of-the-art dental x-ray equipment, providing dental radiographs (x-rays) that offer an improved method of detection and care for your pet.

Spotting teeth that have lots of tarter buildup is easy to see, but detecting hidden problems below the gumline, like an abscess or tooth resorption requires dental x-rays. Since 60% of a pet’s tooth is below the gumline, detection of problems in a timely manner allows for an effective treatment plan.

Resorption, Abscess, and Other Hidden Problems
Dogs and cats are affected by many of the same dental problems including periodontal disease, fractured teeth, and oral growths. Cats are also afflicted with tooth resorption and inflammation. Over 50% of cats aged three years and older have tooth resorption – where the affected tooth will erode and disappear. If the tooth roots are affected, they will be replaced by bone (see x-ray below).

Cats affected by tooth resorption may show signs of excessive drooling, bleeding in the mouth, or difficulty eating. This painful condition is treated by extracting the affected tooth.

Dental x-rays can also detect a tooth abscess (see x-rays below). An abscess is an infection that forms around a tooth. This happens when a tooth breaks if periodontal disease is present. Other dental problems that x-rays can uncover include, impacted teeth, dead teeth, retained root fragments, and oral cancer.

Dental x-rays are part of a comprehensive oral exam each pet receives when they undergo dental care (such as a professional dental cleaning). While the pet is under general anesthesia - a thorough exam is performed, including x-rays. This helps the vet see issues that otherwise could go unseen or untreated through a visual exam only.

Signs of Dental Problems
A common misconception is that pets stop eating if they have dental problems. Actually, pets will keep eating even if they have severe periodontal disease. There are signs that can indicate your pet may be experiencing dental problems and need to see one of our vets for a thorough dental exam. These include:

1. Bad breath
2. Broken tooth/teeth
3. Excessive drooling
4. Chewing with or favoring one side of the mouth
5. Loss of symmetry of the muzzle and/or lower jaw
6. Bleeding from the mouth
7. Pawing at or rubbing the muzzle/mouth
8. Swollen/draining tracts under (or in front of) the eye
9. Sudden change in behavior
10. Chronic eye infections or drainage with no exact cause or cure
11. Inability to open or close the mouth
12. Chronic sneezing
13. Discolored tooth/teeth
14. Abnormal discharge from nose
15. A mass/growth in the mouth

If any of these signs are noticed, schedule your pet for an oral exam with one of our vets.

With today’s advanced dental care, x-rays, and treatment options, pets do not have to suffer the pain and discomfort of oral problems. Making sure your pet has regular comprehensive dental exams, dental care, x-rays, and providing daily plague prevention will help your pet live a healthier, happier life.

To schedule your pet’s appointment, call (205) 967-7383.


Ann Brennan, DVM
Below are two x-rays. One is a pre-extraction feline resorption lesion (FORL) and the other is the same cat with the resorption lesion extracted.
pre-extraction resorption lesson
post-extraction of resorption lession
Below are two x-rays of a dog with an abscess tooth. A tooth root abscess is a severe infection that develops around the root of a tooth.
Our Wonderful Vets
Bobby Wilson, DVM
Lolly Wilson, DVM
ProHeart® 12 (moxidectin) Is Now Available!

Heartworm disease in our state is a year-round threat. Making sure you give your dog their monthly heartworm medication can be a challenge – until now! With only one dose of ProHeart 12 your dog will have protection all year long.

ProHeart 12 is a new safe and effective option that takes the worry out of remembering to give your dog a monthly dose of their heartworm preventative. It’s also the only FDA-approved product that prevents heartworm disease in dogs for 1 full year with just 1 shot given by our vets.

ProHeart 12 Is Effective & Safe

In three well-controlled studies, ProHeart 12

  • Was 100% effective against heartworm disease* in dogs
  • Was demonstrated to be safe for most types of dogs over 12 months, including:
  • Reproducing dogs
  • Collies sensitive to ivermectin—a common ingredient in monthly heartworm products

  • Had a similar adverse event profile to Heartgard® Plus 

*Caused by Dirofilaria immitis. Heartgard is a registered trademark of Boehringer Ingelheim.

To see if this product is right for your dog, call the clinic at (205) 967-7383
Check out our online store for savings on pet food, toys, and more! Click the link above to visit the store today!
*Terms and conditions apply. Must be of the same product, size, and purchased at one time, Ask the front desk receptionist for full terms and conditions.
Training Classes
Sign Up Today!
Yappy Hour: Puppy Socialization! 

Puppy/Beginner Obedience (6-week course)
  • ​​Instructors: Anthony Rodriguez, Anthony Rodriguez CBCC-KA, CPDT-KSA, Ally Gibson, and Brihanna Contreras

Impulse Control (6-week course) ​​​​
  • ​​Instructor: Anthony Rodriguez, Anthony Rodriguez CBCC-KA, CPDT-KSA 

For complete course descriptions, start dates, and rates, visit our Training website page or sign up for classes by clicking the REGISTER link below.

If you have a question as to whether masks are required, check with your instructor prior to the first week of class. We want our students to learn and have fun in a way that is safe for everyone!

Pet-Vet Picture of the Month
On May 1, 2022, Dr. Grimes celebrated 27 years as owner of Altadena Valley Animal Clinic. Over the years she has taken care of thousands of wonderful pets by building a successful practice through hard work, dedication, and a passion for pets. We wish Dr. Grimes a very happy anniversary and thank her for being a wonderful leader and mentor to so many over the years.
Altadena Valley Animal Clinic | Phone: 205-967-7383 | Fax: 205-967-7395
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A Passion For Pets
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