New guidelines aim to improve veterinary dentistry globally

The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) is currently developing a new set of guidelines to enhance the standards of veterinary dentistry around the world.

WSAVA represents more than 199,050 vets and aims to enhance the clinical care of companion animals. This includes the development of Global Guidelines in key areas of veterinary practice, such as vaccination, nutrition  and pain management. Now they're focused on creating the first Global Dental Guidelines, which has been assigned to to their newly created Dental Guidelines Committee (DGC).

Dr Brook Niemiec, a Board Certified Specialist in Veterinary Dentistry of the American and European Veterinary Dental Colleges and a Fellow of the Academy of Veterinary Dentistry, chairs the WSAVA DGC, and says, "Oral and dental disease are, by far, the most common medical conditions in small animal veterinary medicine. These conditions create significant pain and infection within the oral cavity, as well as the entire body – but because pets rarely show outward signs of disease, treatment is often delayed or not performed at all.  In addition to the problem of a lack of perceived pain, dental education in the veterinary curriculum is limited and it is a subject clouded by myths and misinformation.

"Our goal is to raise awareness of just how common dental disease is in small animals and to highlight the local and systemic consequences if it is left untreated.  We also hope to improve dental education internationally and to promote the importance of veterinary dentistry."

The DGC aims to launch the new guidelines at WSAVA World Congress 2017.

Dr Niemiec added, "The WSAVA Global Dental Guidelines will set the ‘gold standard’ to which all veterinarians should aspire - but we will also suggest minimum standards of equipment and care for veterinarians in parts of the world where companion animal practice is still developing. As part of the project, we plan to develop a simple, objective way to score oral disease in a repeatable fashion and to create educational resources, tools and continuing education (CE) for WSAVA members.

"It is our firm intent that the WSAVA Global Dental Guidelines will be the first step in changing the way that dental disease is perceived in the veterinary profession and in improving dental treatment in companion animals worldwide.  We are grateful to our sponsors, Addisons Biologics, Hill’s Pet Nutrition, KRUUSE, Merial and Virbac for supporting this important work."