What is COHAT and why is it so important?

What is COHAT and why is it so important?

The term COHAT may leave you wondering, “what kind of hat?”

COHAT stands for Comprehensive Oral Health Assessment and Treatment.
In other words, COHAT means an assessment of the whole mouth with an oral exam and dental X-ray as it relates to the patient’s overall health and habits and a treatment plan created for any problems found.

You may be wondering, “I get dental cleanings for my pet every year. Do I still need COHAT for my pet?”

The short answer is yes. A general dental cleaning alone does very little for oral health. The crowns of the teeth are cleaned without treating any conditions below the gum-line. Dental cleanings make the teeth look cleaner and help the pet’s breath smell better temporarily. Steer clear of any place that offers, “anesthesia-free dentistry,” an inhumane service. Click here for more information.

COHAT completed by a veterinarian or veterinary dentist will find any problems that cleanings alone cannot and come up with a plan to treat the problems before they get worse.

  • You will spend less time and money in the long run
    Oral health effects the whole body. COHAT finds and treats dental problems before they get so severe that they cause problems for the jaw, the sinuses, and important organs in the body. COHATs can prevent periodontal disease, a risk factor for liver and kidney disease. It can prevent jaw fracture due to oral disease. This means less time and money treating complications associated with dental disease. The dental X-ray provided in a true COHAT alone can save you repeat visits to the vet for oral health problems.
  • COHAT is so much better for your pet
    Pets try to hide pain; this instinct serves animals well in the wild. Your pet could be in severe dental pain and you wouldn’t know. Dental pain can even go unnoticed with dental cleanings that do not include full mouth dental X-ray. Click here to read more about dental pain.



In short, COHAT helps keep your pets healthy does not cost much more money on the front end.



What is included in a COHAT?

COHAT is hard to define in exact terms, because it is so customizable. Every patient is unique, so each COHAT is different. There are some essential elements of COHAT that are used in every patient.

Every true COHAT will include:

  • A review of pre-anesthesia blood work
  • An assessment of the pet’s medical records with attention medical history, physical exams, and dietary and chewing habits
  • A thorough oral exam
  • Dental probing and charting
  • Full mouth Pre and Post operative ( sometimes intra operative ) dental X-ray
    Click here to read about why Dr. Startup ALWAYS takes full mouth pre-operative and post-operative dental X-rays.
  • A treatment plan created for any problems found that is discussed with the pet owner
  • Discharge instructions including pain control and feeding instructions
  • Recheck exam and / or a plan for a future COHAT


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