A Team Approach to Pet Dental Health

periodontal disease veterinary medicine

This article is sponsored content brought to you by Boehringer.

Periodontal disease is the most commonly diagnosed medical problem in veterinary medicine, estimated to affect as many as eight out of every ten dogs.  It 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 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 currently 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 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 a VNCA Accredited 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”. 

As part of the launch of Animal Health Academy for Nurses, Boehringer Ingelheim, in partnership with Crampton Consulting Group are pleased to offer a unique AVNAT accredited training opportunity leading up to and during Dental Month. Consisting of a series of live events and online modules, the training will provide veterinary nurses with the foundation technical knowledge and communication skills necessary to promote best practice dental care in their clinic.

To find out more go online 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


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