Dental, oral, and maxillofacial diseases are some of the most common problems in small animal veterinary practice. These conditions create significant pain as well as localised and potentially systemic infection. As such, the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) believes that un- and under treated oral and dental diseases pose a significant animal welfare concern. Dentistry is an area of veterinary medicine which is still widely ignored and is subject to many myths and misconceptions. Effective teaching of veterinary dentistry in the veterinary school is the key to progression in this field of veterinary medicine, and to the improvement of welfare for all our patients globally.
These guidelines were developed to provide veterinarians with the information required to understand best practices for dental therapy and create realistic minimum standards of care. Using the three-tiered continuing education system of WSAVA, the guidelines make global equipment and therapeutic recommendations and highlight the anaesthetic and welfare requirements for small animal patients.
This document contains information on common oral and dental pathologies, diagnostic procedures (an easily implementable and repeatable scoring system for dental health, dental radiography and radiology) and treatments (periodontal therapy, extractions). Further, there are sections on anaesthesia and pain management for dental procedures, home dental care, nutritional information, and recommendations on the role of the universities in improving veterinary dentistry. A discussion of the deleterious effects of anaesthesia free dentistry (AFD) is included, as this procedure is ineffective at best and damaging at worst. Throughout the document the negative effects of undiagnosed and/or treated dental disease on the health and well-being of our patients, and how this equates to an animal welfare issue, is discussed.
Niemiec B; Gawor J; Nemec A, et al. J Small Anim Pract 2020; 61(7): E36-E161.