Following his involvement in a major UK study into canine dental health, the findings of which were revealed in the first episode of Trust Me I’m A Vet on BBC TWO this evening (May 3), Ross Allan, a partner in The Pets’n’Vets Family network of veterinary practices, recommends that daily brushing and annual scale and polish is the best way to ensure canine dental health.
Allan, the 2017 BSAVA Melton Award winner for contributions to small animal practice, is based at the Roundhouse Animal Hospital on the southside has predicted that the results of this study will change the way that veterinary practices manage canine dental healthcare.
He said: “Gum infection and periodontal disease is the number one infectious health problem in small animal patients, with up to 80 per cent of dogs having some degree of periodontal disease by only three years old. This has a big effect on oral health and can be a factor in disease developing around the body.
“The study investigated which of three daily methods was best to control dental plaque: tooth-brushing using veterinary toothpaste; a leading canine dental chew and a leading canine ‘dental’ diet. The results showed that tooth brushing was up to three times more effective than either this particular chew or diet. The chew and diet groups showed roughly the same benefit.”
Ross added: “A further point was that chews and diet groups showed considerable variation in plaque control from dogs within the same group. Tooth brushing was shown to be far more reliable in its impact – as well as up to three times more effective.
“The conclusion is that whilst all three modes had some effect, if you want to do your best to help your dog have a healthy mouth, and control the plaque that causes gum disease and increases the risk of other diseases around the body – brush their teeth!
“Apart from the fact that brushing is a more effective method to control plaque, as an owner you are in complete control over which teeth are brushed and how often. For chews and diets, the dog decides which teeth are in contact.
“Brushing daily is the gold standard. Although a specific dental chew or diet may assist plaque removal.”
The findings of the study has prompted The Pets’n’Vets Family network of veterinary practices with surgeries in Glasgow and surrounding areas to launch the Tooth Furry Dental Club – an entirely new way of tackling and preventing dental disease in pets – offering a range of services and resources, including free dental check-ups for all pets and free post dental care packs.
Pets’n’Vets Family partner Oliver Jackson said that the results of this study will change forever how veterinary practices manage canine dental healthcare.
“We already use dental X-rays and advanced dentistry techniques such as gingival flaps wherever possible, which has led to a significant reduction in the extent of invasive surgery required to remove teeth and, following the findings of this study, we have established new dental healthcare clinics throughout our branch network and developed new ways of checking the progress of the dental health of our customers’ pets through the introduction of innovative client education tools to improve treatment of an age-old problem,” he said.
“Our comprehensive new dental healthcare package includes access to online resources to give owners advice on how best to brush their pet’s teeth while all our staff are currently completing additional dental healthcare training with the aim being for The Pets’n’Vets Family to be recognised as the local veterinary dental care experts.”