COLLEGE STATION – March 3, 2006 – As the lifespan of pets continues to increase, the field of dentistry is becoming one of the fastest growing service areas within veterinary medicine, says Dr. J.R. “Bert” Dodd, clinical associate professor and veterinary dentist at the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences at Texas A&M University.
The Small Animal Pet Dentistry Service is now offering full-time dental services for dogs and cats. Dodd offers routine cleanings as well as oral surgery, periodontal evaluation and treatment, endodontic therapy, restorations, orthodontics, oral evaluations and digital radiology.
“Dental disease can contribute to generalized systemic disease in veterinary patients – it’s not merely a localized or cosmetic problem,” says Dodd. “In fact, dental disease is the No. 1 disease entity affecting adult pets.”
In a study done by the American Veterinary Dental Society, more than 80% of dogs and 70% of cats develop some degree of periodontal disease by three years of age. This may include gingivitis, periodontal infections, malocclusions, fractured teeth, oral tumors or painful cavity-like lesions.
Bacteria in the mouth associated with periodontal disease can spread to vital organs including the liver, kidneys or heart and lead to infections in these organs, according to Dodd. “Bacteria are released into the bloodstream every time a pet chews or plays with toys,” he says.
“Good dental care can have a very positive effect on a pet’s overall health,” Dodd believes. “Ideally, all pets should have their teeth brushed daily and have annual dental examinations and/or cleanings to ensure they have the best possible health.”
A 1979 graduate of Texas A&M University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, Dodd opened the Hiway 620 Animal Hospital in Austin in 1981. He is a Diplomate of the American Veterinary Dental College and a Fellow and past President of the Academy of Veterinary Dentistry.
Teaching veterinary dentistry to other veterinarians, veterinary students and veterinary technicians is one of his passions as he lectures throughout the United States. Dodd says he is available to veterinarians for dental consultations and as a resource regarding dental equipment.
Dodd is assisted in the dental service by Tommy Koenig, RVT, AVDT. “Tommy has been with me for the past 18 years in Austin and is now with me here full-time at the college,” says Dodd. “He is invaluable in providing educational lectures and equipment training for veterinarians.”
Dodd also works closely with other members of the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences – including behaviorists, radiologists, oncologists, anesthesiologists, cardiologists, internists and surgeons – to provide a comprehensive referral service. The service has access to state-of-the-art dental and diagnostic (radiography, CT and ultrasound) equipment in the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (VMTH).
Located in the VMTH’s Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, the Small Animal Pet Dentistry Service can be contacted for appointment scheduling Monday-Friday at 979-845-2351. Referrals are not required. For more information visit vethospital.tamu.edu/small-animal/dentistry/.