Veterinarian Donna Bucciarelli recommends a dental cleaning under general anesthesia for an elderly boxer despite its owner's concerns that general anesthesia might not be safe. Periodontal disease is among the most common problems seen in companion animals, Dr. Bucciarelli writes, and it can lead to local infections and pain as well as systemic health problems. Anesthesia for cleanings is recommended, notes Dr. Bucciarelli, and tests including blood work and possibly chest radiographs and other tools can help the veterinarian develop the safest anesthesia protocol.

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