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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 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 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, clinical and support, 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 and seen first-hand the success of veterinary nursing clinics to promote dental health in multiple practices, Maggie says that nurse education; clinical, business, and communication, is a critical success factor for these programs.
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 regard to dental health”. Boehringer Ingelheim, in partnership with Crampton Consulting Group, is pleased to offer a unique training opportunity to develop your skill in dental care with the Vet Nurse Technical Advisor in Dental Care program. This course will arm you with the technical knowledge and communication skills to help you perform and promote best practice dental care in your clinic. To find out more scan the QR code to visit the Animal Health Academy for Nurses.
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