A team approach to pet dental health

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periodontal disease in pets

This article is sponsored content brought to you by Boehringer Ingelheim.

Periodontal disease is the most commonly diagnosed medical problem in veterinary medicine, estimated to affect as many as eight out of every ten dogs. Periodontal disease has been termed a ‘silent epidemic’, as significant pathological changes can occur in the absence of overt clinical signs.  Commonly, significant pathology exists before capturing the attention of the owner. However, the absence of overt clinical signs in dogs with periodontal disease does not however mean they are not suffering.  

In addition to causing local pain and inflammation, there is an increasing body of evidence, in a range of species, that dental disease can have wider reaching impacts. Although a causal relationship has not yet been established in dogs, several published studies support the hypothesis that periodontal disease has deleterious effects more broadly, including associations with cardiac, renal, and hepatic disease. Considering the negative consequences of periodontal disease, a proactive, client orientated approach to preventative dental care can have a significant positive impact on health and wellbeing

As with most preventative health programs, such as parasite control or vaccination programs, the promotion of dental care in a veterinary context benefits from a whole-of-clinic approach. Training and education of all staff on the importance of preventative dental health, along with an aligned clinic protocol, can help foster better client compliance and lead to better health outcomes.  

The benefits of routine homecare must be conveyed to each client on a regular basis. Dental care (including homecare) should be discussed with the client on their first visit to the practice … and should come from the whole staff. Early institution of homecare not only leads to the greatest benefit, it also makes training easier (World Small Animal Veterinary Association – Global Dental Guidelines, 2018).

Maggie Burley from Crampton Consulting Group is a passionate advocate for a whole-of-clinic approach to dental care. As an AVNAT Registered Veterinary Nurse, with a Diploma of Veterinary Nursing (Dentistry) and Veterinary Technician Speciality in Dentistry, Maggie is at the forefront of leading change in this area. Having implemented veterinary nursing clinics in multiple practices and seen first-hand their effect in promoting dental health, Maggie says that clinical, business and communication education of nurses is a critical factor for their success. Dr Eve Haupt, Technical Services Veterinarian from Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health agrees. “Nurses frequently have greater time to spend with clients, and if appropriately trained, nurses can make powerful and passionate advocates in the clinic to drive positive change in regards to dental health.” 

Through the Animal Health Academy for Nurses, Boehringer Ingelheim, in partnership with Crampton Consulting Group, are pleased to offer unique AVNAT accredited training in dental care, to provide veterinary nurses with the foundation technical knowledge and communication skills necessary to promote best practice dental care in their clinic. Successful completion of the course will earn you a certified achievement of Vet Nurse Technical Advisor in Dental Care.

To find out more, head to www.animalhealthacademy.com.au. If you don’t already have an Animal Health Academy account you can create one using the access code: myAcademy 

To register for the program, click on Nurse Technical Advisor in the menu bar -> Dental Care -> Enrol

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