Hello. Today we have Dr. Ruth Barthel here in the studio, who is going to talk to us about Veterinary Dentistry. Dr. Barthel is a world-renowned veterinary dentist who hails from Michigan State originally, doing her veterinary training there, and she is the current President of the Academy of Veterinary Dentistry and a diplomat of the American Veterinary Dental College. Ruth, tell us a little bit about what you do. Okay. Well, I diagnose and treat oral conditions in dogs and cats. We get them under anesthesia, and basically, I'm looking to see if they need any teeth to be extracted, if they have broken teeth that need root canals, if they might have cavities that need to be filled, or even malpositioned teeth that need to be realigned. Basically, I want to provide them with a healthy and pain-free mouth so that they can enjoy eating and playing. So, what's the most common treatment that you provide for cats and dogs? The most common treatment is periodontal therapy. So, that is, we get them under anesthesia, do an oral exam and full mouth x-rays and take a look at any abnormalities that there might be there. Periodontal treatment is the most common because 75 percent of dogs and cats over three years old actually have some form of periodontal disease. It's important that we treat that because periodontal disease has been associated with infections in the heart and the liver and the kidneys. Fascinating. So, what happens during a dental cleaning on an animal? Well, this work is all done under anesthesia, so I can get a really good look in their mouth. We even look at the tonsils, the back of their mouth, the roof of the mouth, their tongue and obviously all their teeth we want to take and probe and look for pockets of infection. One thing many people don't know is how many teeth their pet has, and a dog has 42 and a cat has 30. Here we have another case. This is before and after. This dog actually has what we call attachment loss, where he's gotten gingival recession and bone loss because this tooth root should be covered in bone and gum tissue. Some of these teeth we can save and some of them we cannot. But with good home care, we can try to save most of them. If we don't save them, we've got a dog here who lost his upper canine tooth, which would be sitting right in here, and the infection got so bad, it eroded the bone and that went into the nasal cavity. So, this little hole here is actually right into his nose. This dog was sneezing and coughing. Whenever he drink, he get water up in his nose. It was making him very sick, and once we got in and took our x-rays, we found out that the bone loss was much bigger than that little hole. It actually involve these teeth. So, we took all those out and then made a nice flap to close everything up. What a difference that would make. Yeah, definitely. What's on the frontier for veterinary dentistry? Well, veterinary dentists are researching tooth resorption in cats, most especially. This is a very painful and progressive disease. You can see the gingiva's used to be crawling up the tooth. Well, Underneath that, the polyp is actually exposed. So, it's very painful, the kitties, their mouths are bleeding, and currently we don't know the cause and our only treatment is extraction. This x-ray just gives you a better idea of how much of that crown of the tooth is actually eaten away. We found out that this isn't a new condition in cats. We do find it in the big cats, the lions and tigers, and in medieval villages where they've excavated cat skeletons, there's tooth resorption there, and also in the Egyptian tombs, the pharaohs really revered their cats and they would mummify them, and even those mummified cats have tooth resorption. That looks like it would be a pretty uncomfortable situation for the animal. They really feel much better once we've extracted those teeth. So, what does it take to become a veterinary dentist? Well, you have to graduate from veterinary school and then get a residency, approved residency site, and then three to five years to get your cases in, write some case reports, do some research papers, and then take your boards. Well, that sounds like it's a fairly extensive training. It sounds like a pretty exciting opportunity individuals. Definitely. What's exciting about dentistry for you? What do you see here? Well, I get to do a lot of exciting things. I got to work on a big cat rescue place where I had a lion anesthetized, and we did root canals, also worked on a tiger. Many of these animals were rescued from circuses where they might have been abused or even people that bought them, often it's drug dealers that buy them and then they get to a certain size and they don't want them anymore. But they all have broken teeth, they're abscessed, they're not eating well. So, there's actually a team of veterinarians that goes in, and then we provide this care for free for them. The other exciting thing is I got to work on Officer Zar. He's a quite handsome dog. He's very good at his work. He is trained in bite work, so he apprehends criminals when they're running away, and he's so good at his job that he broke two of his teeth while he was doing that. So, he came to me and we did root canals on these two teeth and put metal crowns on him so he can continue to work. Wow. That looks like a very important work to make somebody whole again. Yeah, and especially, these dogs costs the Police Department quite a bit of money to train. So, once they have one that is really good, they want to do everything they can to keep him in service. Very interesting. Then probably the most rewarding part of my work is that difference I can make to pets and their owners. So, this is Sadie, and she had a tumor in the front of her mouth that's not really malignant but it tends to spread very quickly, and if we didn't do something for it within about six to eight months, she probably wouldn't be able to eat. So, I actually removed that whole lower jaw to get rid of all the tumor cells, and she's been tumor-free for six years now. She plays ball, she has a great time, she's a very happy dog. What the difference that makes. Then this is Mittens. Mittens does have a cancer in his mouth. Typically, this will spread quite quickly to the lymph nodes and the lung, making him pretty sick, and again we took that lower jaw off, which is not really noticeable at all in the cat, and he lived to be 17 and died of unrelated causes. So that was really a success. Then we have Charlie. Charlie has stomatitis, which is again very painful, they have bleeding mouths, he had a discharge from his nose and his eyes, he was losing weight. So, we took all his teeth out to treat this condition, and you can see the difference between before and after, and this is what's exciting about veterinary dentistry. So, when the owner comes back and says, "You had changed my cat's life. I've got my cat back and I am so happy." That does look like very rewarding work. Yeah. Charlie was a good kitty. Thank you very much for joining us today and giving us an insight into what you do as a professional and the exciting work that you're doing to restore the lives of many important people in our community. So, thank you very much. You're very welcome. Thank you for having me here. Thank you.