Author Archive for EWZuber

NEW Service – Stem Cell Therapy

Learn More at a FREE Seminar – July 14th at 7 pm!

Kennesaw Mountain Veterinary Services is hosting a FREE informational seminar on the benefits of stem cell therapy for your pets. A representative from Medivet Biologics will explain how stem cells from your own pet are  can become powerful healing cells in your pet’s body. Visit our Stem Cell Service page for more information.

Seating is limited. Call to reserve a seat today!

(770) 447-3927

New Service Offered – Class IV Cold Laser Therapy!

Kennesaw Mountain Veterinary Services now offers Class IV Cold Laser Therapy.

Watch this video to learn how the K-Laser works to heal your pet’s body.

Equine Dental Awareness

February is national pet dental awareness month.


Dental disease and problems arising in horses are sometimes mismanaged or even overlooked.  The horses mouth should be checked every year on a routine basis in order to determine the heath and vitality of the mouth.

Common problems that may arise with horses include poor occlusion, tooth decay, hooks, points, ramps, wave or step mouth, loose teeth, peri-odontal disease, and infected roots.  Sometimes it is difficult to determine the extent of each problem without sedation and a mouth speculum and sometimes even radiographs are needed to examine the horse properly.  As early as a few weeks old, we can start checking horses teeth and helping them in ways that might help them have a healthier mouth.

Young horses need their teeth checkedFoals will sometimes be missing teeth, have premature eruptions,  retain deciduous teeth and have improper alignment which allow difficulties eating and prolonged issues with their teeth.  Most horses will shed all their baby teeth by the time they are two or three years old.  A lot of people find the retained caps which fall out later at three and sometimes even four years of age in the food bucket or on the ground.  These caps may cause some gingival bleeding and may be painful for the horse to eat when they become a little loose.  The caps are easily taken out if ready usually with sedation and using a mouth speculum in order to get to the desired tooth.  Retained incisors or immature growth of the adult teeth may be cause for poor dental alignment which could result in an improper bite.  This may set the horse up for a long term problems with the mouth, their ability to chew, and also problematic while riding with a bit in their mouth.  Equine Dental Awarenss - Prevent Dental Disease in Your Horse with Regular CheckupsWe sometimes see traumatic injuries which can cause premature loss of teeth, fractured roots, and sheared teeth which also will play a role in the development of the horses bite overtime.  Up until the age of two some of the signs that you might see at home would be bad breath, head tilt with difficulty chewing food, swelling on the face or the jaw, and sometimes you may see a discharge from the mouth with blood or thick mucous in it.  If it anytime you see any of these symptoms the horse would need to be sedated and fit with a speculum in order to perform a thorough oral exam.  The necessary recommendations and corrections can be made at this time.

Routine floating of the teeth can also start early on sometimes by the time the horse has reached 2 years of age.  I like to sedate all of my horses that I perform dentals on in order to safely fit the speculum in the mouth for the horses safety as well as our own.  We can also perform the dentals more thoroughly and simpler without having to struggle with the horse while using necessary power equipment to float the teeth.  Considerations need to be taken into account before sedating the horse for the dental procedure.  If the horses Health is in within question then presurgical blood work may be performed as well as a thorough physical examination to asses the horses health. Radiographs may also be useful to determine problematic areas of concern.   We would be looking for any signs of anemia, heart dysfunction, poor body condition score, diarrhea, upper respiratory infections, and any other symptoms that may need to resolve before sedation.  Although weight-loss is a common sequela due to poor teeth condition, we want to make sure that the horse doesn’t have any other problems that may cause the weight loss before we perform the procedure.  A horse’s nutrition plays a vital role in the help of tooth growth and necessary vitamins and minerals are essential  for a normal horse to mature with healthy teeth.

Horse's skull with teeth identifiedAs mentioned above we will sedate the horse and fit the horse with the speculum in order to perform the exam.  We will first look at the horses by and make sure that the horse does not have an underbite or an overbite which could significantly affect the horses ability to chew the food.  We will inspect the incisors the location of each incisor size, shape, and symmetry.  We will also make sure that the occlusal surface has a nice flat surface for proper excursion and also ensure the horse will be able to chew equally on both sides.  We will then begin inspecting the premolars and the molars oHorse with speculum in mouthn both the upper and lower aspects of the horses mouth.  The very first premolar is referred to as the wolf tooth and can be present on the upper or lower aspects of the jaw behind the interdental space between the canine teeth and the molars.  The wolf teeth can be present in both males and females.  If wolf teeth are present we recommend removing them usually after the age of four when they have broken through the gumline and had a chance to be stable enough without fracturing the root.  Left alone, the wolf teeth are shallow rooted and can be a nuisance to the surrounding gingiva if aggravated.  This can cause major bit rejection and unwanted objection while riding.  Once the wolf teeth are removed  we will inspect the lateral aspects ( buccal surface ) of the upper molars and determine how bad the points are.  The lower molars will normally grow points on the inside ( lingual ) surface of these teeth.  We will then inspect the posterior edge of the last lower molar and determine if there are any ramps present which could grow higher than the occlusal surface and can be extremely painful as the horse opens their mouth during eating.  Once the floating begins, we will remove the buccal surface of the upper molar points and the lingual surface of the lower molar points, cut down any hooks on the front edge of the uppers and the ramps on the lower to get as flat occlusal surface as possible.  There are several types of bit seats that may be done on the upper edge of the molars which will help fit the bill in the horses mouth and prevent hooks from growing as rapidly as they have in the past.  Likewise if we can cut any ramps down forming on the lowers, we will try to over correct the ramps to create a beveled edge which also will slow down any future ramp growth.

Check your horse's teeth regularlyHealthy Horse MouthOther problems involving the premolars and molars would include wave mouth, step mouth, loose or extracted teeth which also can play a role in digestion and how the horse choose the food.  When floating horses teeth we try to minimize the higher areas on the lowers and the low areas on the upper teeth to try to reestablish a flat surface for mastication.  The older the horse gets the harder their teeth get and the shallower the root.   Some people prefer using hand floats to float the teeth but the older the horse gets a power flow is much more efficient and easier for the dentist as well as the horse, plus it will also minimize the time needed while the horse is under sedation.  Prolonged dentals may require extra sedatives and caution should be taken while the horse is under sedation to maintain good vital signs and allow for a smooth recovery.  Sometimes while performing the procedure, the gumline may bleed, and while cutting longer teeth down, the pulp may be exposed which can also be a source of bleeding during the procedure.  The mouth heals rapidly like ours and may require only a day or two till back to normal.   Routine dentals will make the procedures fairly easy year – after – year if it’s done on a consistent basis best minimizing sedation and time needed.  With proper technique each dental year after year will allow the horse to eat healthier, respond to the bit better, and may minimize the amount of feed or roughage needed to maintain a healthy weight.


After each procedure the mouth should be rinsed well and if any bleeding occurred we will sometimes use dilute mouthwash to flush the horses mouth out for a few days.  I also like to give a small anti-inflammatory dose of flunixin which will help ease the horse the rest of the day as well as provide muscle relaxation which minimizes the risk of colic.  Sometimes the sedatives can slow the gut which may result in a colic soon after the procedure  and can be an emergency if not recognized soon enough.   We should be notified as soon as possible if any symptoms arise after the dental.  We also may make further nutritional recommendations depending on the age of the horse and the use of the horse.  If any extensive damage to the gums or the tooth roots occur, or abscesses treated, then we will put the horse on a few days of antibiotics to help rid the horse of any infection.

I encourage my clients to look at the horse before during and after each procedure so they can appreciate the before and after results from case to case.  I also encourage owners to allow us to perform the dentals at a reasonable time of day To allow for enough time to do the dentals and will usually limit no more than two or three horses per visit to allow for enough stamina to do a proper job.  I also encourage owners to take advantage of the sedation and it’s a good time to clean the sheaths of males and also clean the external reproductive tract of the females.  Also, any grooming, trimming, or clipping that may be done is also a good time after we finish the Procedure.  We look forward to serving your needs and helping your horse feel as good as they possibly can, responding to the bits the best that they can, and most importantly digesting their food for a healthier happier life.

Small Animal Dental Awareness

February is National Pet Dental Health Month

dog-with-toothbrushWe at Kennesaw Mountain Veterinary Services are offering a 20% discount on all dentals for small animals and horses.  Your pets dental will include necessary pre-surgical examination, bloodwork, anesthesia monitoring, prophy, scaling, and polishing.  We will also send home a dental care kit which will include necessary at home management tools to keeping your pets teeth clean.

Don’t turn your nose to your pet’s bad breath! That odor might signify a serious health risk, with the potential to damage not only your pet’s teeth and gums but its internal organs as well.

To address the significance of oral health care for pets, the AVMA and several veterinary groups are sponsoring National Pet Dental Health Month in February.

Most dogs and cats have bacteria surrounding the teeth and gums that could potentially be harmful.  By the time the dogs or cats have turned two years old their teeth may need to be checked on a routine basis in order to help prevent further complications down the road.  We will be looking for things like cavities, tarter build up, ulcerations, masses,  occlusion, or periodontal disease that may affect the normal anatomy within the oral cavity.  Most diets have enzymes that fight tarter build up within the food which is formulated to help control tarter and may decrease the Occurrence periodontal and teeth issues.  Most dog foods that have a kibble can mechanically reduced tarter while the pets chew the food.  Small Animal Dental HealthThe food still can find its way between the teeth in the caps of the teeth and further complicate any cavities that might be formed.  Over long periods of time tarter can build up and the bacteria will multiply resulting in gingivitis, tooth decay, root infections, and even premature loss of teeth.  The bacteria may be absorbed in the gingiva and then transported to other parts of the body through the bloodstream.  More serious infections could result in valvular heart disease called bacterial endocarditis and the bacteria may end up in other organs such as the kidney resulting  in unwanted problems concerning  the pet.  Most of this pertains to cats as well as dogs.  I’m sure most of you have had a cat that has been bitten by another cat and a nasty abscess formed.  You guessed it, the bacteria in the mouth infected the wound and a couple days later the infection  is overwhelming and can cause serious infection if not treated properly.

During each yearly visit I like to check the condition of each pets teeth and make the necessary recommendations which will help provide each pet with a healthier life and healthier teeth.  Most pets require dentals every year or two beginning at the age of four or five.  This is not necessarily true for each individual.  Some dogs will play with enough toys and stay active enough that they will mechanically disrupt the tartar buildup and their teeth will stay healthy enough to where they seldom need dental work.  Other dogs that may eat human food or softer diets without much exercise may tend to build more tartar on their teeth.  In either case dental prophylaxis scaling and polishing the teeth is a healthy preventative measure to keep the teeth on track for for a long time. If early cavity formation is detected root canals may be performed to save the root which will eventually help save the tooth.  Most of the time the tooth is already decayed with a shallow root and infected socket which may fall out on its own.  And a lot of times the infection in the socket will result abscess formation which may cause pain and  inflammation .  Sometimes the abscesses may create a fistula to the skin surface and will drain with a bloody or mucopurulent discharge.    All these infections would require immediate attention with systemic antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medications, and necessary pain management.  The choice of each medication is determined on a case to case basis.

Dog Dental ExamEach patient that will be receiving a dental will be put under general anesthesia.  Pre-surgical blood work and thorough presurgical exam will help us to determine which type of anesthesia used during the dental.  Any facial swellings, lymph node involvement, halitosis, and gingivitis may help us to determine the extent of pathology in the mouth.  Radiographs will further help us identify pathology and help us make necessary recommendations.  Any pet older than seven years old will have presurgical blood work and IV catheterization with IV fluids during the procedure.  This is a mandatory protocol that we have adopted at Kennesaw Mountain Veterinary Services for our older patients.  All patients will be intubated with a cuffed endotracheal tube which will maintain a patent airway during the procedure to prevent any of the fluid getting to the lungs.  After cleaning the large particles of any tartar with a manual scaler and assessing any pathology, an ultrasonic scaler will be used to clean the stained teeth.  During each dental procedure,  we will assess any gingival, root or tooth problem and determine what course needs to be taken.  Once the patient has recovered we will rinse the mouth in order to clean of any remaining debris.  The teeth will be ready to be polished. Necessary antibiotics or anti-inflammatories and sometimes pain medications will be determined at the time of the procedure for the pet to go home with.

Two dogs

The gold standard for dental home care is regular and effective tooth brushing. The mechanical action of the bristles help to disrupt the soft plaque that forms on the teeth before it can turn into hard tartar.

Human toothpastes should never be used, because they contain detergents and fluoride that the dog should not swallow – and most dogs don’t spit well. Toothpastes made specifically for pets are safe to be ingested, and with the effect of a dual enzyme system, provides additional action against the bacteria in plaque.

With the appropriate chewing device, the mechanical action can help slow down the accumulation of plaque and tartar on your dog’s teeth. Not all products for chewing are good, however, because larger, harder ones could break your dog’s teeth. Some chews may contain additional ingredients that help fight the plaque as well.

If your dog doesn’t appreciate getting a chew, you can still take some steps to help improve his/her oral hygiene. Oral antiseptic rinses are often used to help work against the plaque containing bacteria that can form on the tooth surfaces. Products added to the drinking water can also help in the fight against plaque formation.

We use products from Virbac for each of these applications and a complimentary kit will be given to each pet after their respective procedure.  The toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental chews, and rinses are available in the clinic or online at for your convenience.  We at KMVS look forward to meeting your  pets’ dental needs.

Please call us to set up an appointment 770-447-3927


Trimming Your Pet’s Toenails . . .

Dr. Kirk Underwood demonstrates how to trim toenails with a Dremmel tool.

Trimming nails with routine clippers does a good job to shorten each nail. At Kennesaw Mountain Veterinary Services we also use the toenail Dremmel as seen in this video to smooth each nail down. This procedure is commonly used on our surgery patients while under anesthesia so we can train each nail to an acceptable length. Don’t fight with your pet, bring your pet in and let us trim those toenails quickly and painlessly.

Dental Health: How to Brush Your Pet’s Teeth

February is National Pet Dental Health Month

Did you know dogs have 42 teeth and cats have 30? Here’s a video from the American Veterinary Medical Association that gives easy, step-by-step instructions on how to teach a dog or cat to accept a daily tooth brushing. Call Kennesaw Mountain Veterinary Services and schedule an appointment to check your pets teeth and don’t forget your horses’ teeth too!

Our New Clinic is Now Open!

Dr. Kirk Underwood is proud to announce the opening of his new veterinary clinic in the Kennesaw Landing Shopping Center in Kennesaw, GA. Our new facility includes surgical suites, boarding and examining rooms for your small animals. Kennesaw Mountain Veterinary Services is one of the few veterinary practices that offer healthcare services for both large and small animals. Dr. Underwood will continue his mobile practice calling on farms in Cobb County and Cherokee County as well as in the surrounding areas.

Kennesaw Mountain Veterinary Services is conveniently located in the Kennesaw Landing Shopping Center next to Olde Towne Tavern & Grille, 2500 Cobb Parkway NW, Kennesaw, GA 30152

Click here for a map and directions

Center map