Haddock and Chips
Haddock the cat and Chips the dog were gingerly eating their dinners in the kitchen while the family ate their own dinners elsewhere using knives and forks, which Haddock and Chips thought ridiculous when you could get more down by simply sticking your face in the plate. Usually Haddock ( a very dignified tortoiseshell) had to give Chips (a rather hairy crossbreed) a ticking off for trying to eat her food once he’d finished his own but not recently.
“Ow-ow-ow” Chips winced, backing away from his plate.
“Me-ow too!” replied Haddock, rubbing at her face with her paw.
Just then, Dougie, the teenage son of the household walked in and noticed things weren’t right with the two furry chums.
“Hey! The pets are still only picking at their food and they look as if something’s bothering them!” he shouted through to his parents.
“If they’re hungry they’ll eat it later, just leave them alone.” his Dad replied
“I can get them something different at the supermarket if they want a change” offered his Mum.
But Dougie was the one who spent most time with them and he wasn’t convinced. He bent down to tickle the hairy dog and when Chips lifted his head he got an unpleasant whiff of very bad breath. He turned to Haddock and noticed the gum just above her teeth looked startlingly red as she rubbed her chin against his outstretched hand.
“No! Chips’ breath stinks and Haddock’s mouth doesn’t look right at all. I think we should phone Abercorn.”
“Haddock and Chips!” called the vet. Some of the people and animals waiting looked round hungrily but settled again when they saw Haddock (in a sturdy cat carrier), Chips, Dougie, Mum and Dad follow the vet into the consulting room.
First of all the vet weighed Haddock and Chips and remarked that they had lost weight. Dougie thought he saw Haddock nod in agreement but decided later that he imagined it. The vet gave them a thorough check-over – including taking their temperature, which both pets agreed was completely unnecessary because the problem was at the other end – but the vet explained she was checking to see if they were feverish, which might suggest an infection. Neither of them wanted to have their mouths opened by the vet (they felt very tender) but unlike us they couldn’t be told to say “Ah” so they put up with it.
“And do you brush their teeth daily?” asked the vet, pointing to some poultry flavoured toothpaste and a little brush on the shelves.
“No, but we could try that if it would help.” answered Dougie eagerly.
“ I would like to book them both in for a dental procedure under general anaesthetic,” the vet continued, “so I can examine their mouths properly while they’re asleep, take out any bad ones and give the rest a clean and polish”
The whole family exchanged worried glances at the mention of an anaesthetic but the vet reassured them that once the teeth were sorted out and cleaned up, with regular brushing and some nice teeth-friendly pet food Haddock and Chips would soon be enjoying their dinners again.
Haddock and Chips discussed the day’s events and agreed they were looking forward to having pain-free teeth again and said they were feeling better already now that they were on antibiotics.
Chips told Haddock, “I overheard Dougie’s Granny saying that tooth infections can make you quite ill if they’re overlooked, and she should know! I’ve seen her teeth in a glass of water by her bed and they were sparkling!”