Veterinary colleges accredited by the AVMA Council on Education must now include dentistry in their curricula.
The council approved revising Standard 9 (Curriculum) at its virtual fall meeting, Aug. 30-Sept. 1. The proposed change went out in June for public comment, which closed July 1.
The COE Academic Affairs Committee stated: “The council believes that dentistry is an integral part of veterinary medical practice and is a crucial component for the health and welfare of multiple animal species. It is essential that students are trained in dentistry.”
Previously, many veterinary colleges offered the topic as an elective course.
The field of veterinary dentistry has grown over the years. The American Veterinary Dental College was established in 1988; full recognition was granted in 1995 by the AVMA American Board of Veterinary Specialties. An equine dental specialty under the AVDC was added and recognized by the ABVS in 2014. The AVDC lists 185 active diplomates on its website.
According to the 2019 American Animal Hospital Association Dental Care Guidelines for Dogs and Cats: “It is well known that many pet owners use the internet as a default resource for pet healthcare information and home treatment. However, because of the specialized nature of dental procedures, including diagnosis and treatment, professional veterinary care is necessary for maintaining pet oral health. Therefore, veterinary dentistry represents an opportunity for a primary care practice to demonstrate a high level of service and professional expertise to its clients and to positively impact patient comfort and wellbeing.”