What is a COHAT? Vet Dental Cleaning

Have you ever heard of the term COHAT? If you have no idea what that means, you’re not alone. COHAT stands for Comprehensive Oral Health Assessment and Treatment. To be more precise, it includes cleaning and polishing your pet’;s teeth followed by a thorough intra-oral examination, including dental X-Rays. Following the examination, we will create a treatment plan for any problems we find and will call you with our recommendations while your pet is anesthetized.


Why does my pet need a COHAT?

1. Detect underlying oral health problems 

While you may take your pet to a veterinarian for regular cleanings, a cleaning alone is often not enough to find hidden problems and maintain optimal oral health. To treat any underlying issues that may be lurking below the crown and gums of your pet’s teeth, a COHAT is recommended. This can be completed by an experienced veterinary dentist, who will discover any problems that may not be noticeable during cleanings—and come up with a plan to treat those problems before they become untreatable.

2. Identify and treat pain

Because of the natural survival instincts present in all animals, pets usually hide their pain and often will not show any signs of an oral health issue. As your pet may never let on that they are in any pain, they could be experiencing uncomfortable oral health problems and infections without you even knowing. 


Dental issues and pain can go unnoticed even during cleanings, which is why a COHAT can be so beneficial. X-Rays performed as part of COHATs frequently reveal infection, disease, and inflammation below the surface that may be causing pain and would otherwise likely be ignored instead of treated. In fact, studies have shown that 28% of dogs and 42% of cats have diseased teeth that appear normal unless you obtain dental X-rays. Any pet that is having their teeth cleaned need to have dental X-rays to uncover these painful issues.

3. Prevent more than just oral health problems

There are many reasons why you should get a COHAT for your pet, but one of the most important is that this procedure can find and treat oral health issues that have the potential to affect the whole body. COHATs have the ability to prevent advanced periodontal disease, and periodontal disease is a risk factor for liver, heart and kidney disease in pets. By preventing periodontal disease, you can also improve your pet’s overall health.

4. Save time and money in the long run


Detecting issues early means you will actually spend less time and money treating your pet for any health complications caused by oral health issues. 

What Happens During a COHAT?

Because every pet is different, and may present with different oral health problems, no two COHAT procedures are the same. However, there are some aspects and steps of the COHAT procedure that are followed with every pet. These essential elements include:

  • Assessing your pet’s medical records, medical history, and physical exam history.
  • Performing a detailed preoperative exam.
  • Reviewing your pet’s pre-anesthestic blood work.
  • Anesthetizing your pet to perform a thorough cleaning and obtain dental X-Rays. It is simply not possible to provide quality dental treatment in a pet without anesthesia. We have an excellent anesthetic safety record and we are more than happy to discuss any particular concerns you might have.
  • Detailed dental probing and charting.
  • Formulate a treatment plan for any unexpected problems found during the COHAT.
  • Calling the owner to discuss any findings and recommendations for further treatment, before any additional treatment is performed.
  • Answer any questions owner’s might have about our findings.
  • Provide detailed instructions for aftercare.
  • Make follow-up calls after the procedure to answer any additional questions.

Veterinary Dentist in Montana

Dr. Tony Woodward is the only board-certified veterinary dentist in all of Montana and is highly experienced in performing COHAT procedures—and the good news is that you don’t need a referral to have your pet seen by Dr. Woodward. If you’d like to set up a COHAT appointment for your pet, all you need to do is call our Bozeman office and schedule an appointment. Dr. Woodward is on-site here in Bozeman full-time to handle all of your pet’s dental needs.


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