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petdrz, Veterinarian
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Experience:  Over 30 years of experience caring for dogs and cats
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Post Dental Extraction Questions My 14 year old dog had

Resolved Question:

Post Dental Extraction Questions:

My 14 year old dog had 3 teeth extracted by a Dental Specialist (almost 2 weeks ago). He had been on antibiotics prior to and after the extraction (about 9 days following surgery) that were prescribed by my regular vet (the dentist indicated no antibiotics were necessary post-opt however). He received Tramadol for 5 days after surgery and has continued his normal/regular dose of Rimadyl that he has been taking now for about 4 years for arthritic issues.

My concerns/questions:
1) He continues to seem somewhat depressed and lower activity post surgery as pre-surgery.
2) Almost 2 weeks out, I am surprised that he still appears somewhat depressed and lower activity.
Shouldn't his depression have subsided by now and shouldn't he be going back to his normal activity level by now? And if not, how long does it typically take for a dog to resume his normal behavior/level following teeth extractions?
Could there be something else wrong that I should be investigating?
Was it long enough on pain meds (Tramadol) and/or antibiotics?

I want to be realistic about his recovery time but I am beginning to wonder if I don't have another issue here?

Normal temperature
Still Rubbing his face on his bed
Bloodwork looked relatively good pre-surgery (slightly high alk phos & cholesterol)
Tests for Thyroid and Lyme came back normal pre-surgery.
Was not given probiotic with antiobiotics

Good appetite and perks up for food, otherwise seems kind of down and activity level has not resumed.
Symptoms of tooth issues *seemed* to come on suddenly, literally within a couple of hours he went from very active to looking very ill. He refused cookie and gave signs he had an issue in his mouth, hence the trip to dentist. But starting to wonder if that was the cause of seemingly sudden problem especially now that teeth have been extracted almost 2 weeks ago and still somewhat depressed and not his normal self.

Should I be looking for something else, trying something else or being patient with recovery (and if so, how much longer do I give this before trying to investigate why this continues)?

Also, are there possible lingering side effects of Zenequin (stopped Friday night)?

Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  petdrz replied 6 years ago.

Hello and welcome to Just Answer. I am a licensed veterinarian and would be happy to answer your questions.


Yes, I would have to tell you that the symptoms you describe would have me concerned also for a few reasons. First, I would not usually expect that dental issues would show up so acutely, so I would be worried if his teeth that ended up being extracted were really the cause of his symptoms or an incidental finding. Secondly, really the only side effect I would expect from the Zeniquin would be GI, and since his appetite is good, I wouldn't think that to be involved.


You didn't mention why the teeth were extracted, but in almost all cases, pain meds are not needed for longer than 5 days as usually the extraction is removing the source of the pain. If there is continued pain in the mouth, it should be investigated. Even if he doesn't act like his mouth is sore, it would be good to have the incision site checked to make sure it has healed.


From what you have described and being almost 2 weeks post procedure, I would definitely have him at least examined and perhaps some basic bloodwork rechecked. Being an older dog, the organs I would be most worried about would be his kidneys, both from the bloodflow changes during a general anesthetic and the history of being on Rimadyl for years. There should not be too much to worry about as long as his blood pressure was maintained and there remained a good perfusion of his kidneys during the procedure, but it is simple enough to check out with a blood test. Rimadyl can also cause GI irritation and or ulcers, but I wouldn't expect he would be eating well if that were the case. It may be that he is just taking a little longer than normal, but most dogs I work with are up and back to normal within a few days. It certainly warrants some further looking into now. I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have any further questions.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Thank you for your detailed reply. I should have mentioned 2 4th premolars had complete root resorption and canine tooth had died with infection above the tooth. Based on the dentist, he stated all of the extractions were 'complicated extractions'. Originally when I took him to the emergency clinic, they felt he was in back pain (but the symptoms they observed were no different than what he has shown for sometime. So it wasn't clear if it was his back or his mouth (or both). It seemed like his mouth was giving me more symptoms, so off the dentist. It's possible what I'm seeing now is add-on back pain but I can't be sure. It was recommended I get an mri for his back also so I had to decide what to go with first. Honestly, I don't see any new symptoms with his back but maybe it is. My regular vet could not get a pain response on his back when she examined him although he is very stiff in his hips and has been for a long time. I want to be sure I give him enough time to heal from his dental surgery and make sure I'm allowing enough time for that to resolve before I dive into yet another path. Based on how comments, it sounds like I might need to start looking at other possibilities.


They said he did very well under anesthesia but I agree I would like to see his bloodwork now.


Any final thoughts before I 'Accept' are appreciated!!

Expert:  petdrz replied 6 years ago.
If his bloodwork is OK, it might be worthwhile to evaluate his response to a repeat of the Tramadol and Rimadyl or a different pain med used with the Rimadyl to see if his symptoms seem to be pain related. He should be healed enough from his mouth surgery that he should no longer need any pain relief there. It always makes me a little nervous when an older dog has what appears to be dental conditions that don't improve when the teeth are extracted, so if there is any evidence of anything (swelling, redness, pain, non-healing) going on in his mouth, a follow up xray of the skull/jaw may be in order to rule out another process, like cancer. Good luck with him.
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