Pet owners urged ‘avoid anaesthesia free’ dentist

Bass Hill Veterinary Hospital’s Kristy Nguyen and Kelly Skilbeck check the teeth of a furry friend while surgeon David Harney (inset) gives a thorough dental investigation to a pet under anaesthetic.

THE Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) is warning pet owners of the health risks posed by lay dental practitioners offering “anaesthesia-free dentistry”.

This involves the fully conscious pet being physically restrained so painful dental instruments can be used.
The AVA’s Dr Tara Cashman said: “The term ‘anaesthesia-free dentistry’ is misleading for pet owners as the procedure is purely cosmetic and fails to identify serious problems such as dental disease.”
Bass Hill Vet owner Helma Van Den Heuvel says figures suggest that between 60 per cent and 80 per cent of animals over the age of three years have some form of periodontal (dental) disease.
“But we would never offer ‘anaesthesia-free dentistry’,” Helma said.
“The animal would be fully aware of any pain involved in the procedure and this can lead to longer-term anxiety and aversion to being touched around the face and muzzle.
“We do have nursing checks where the nurse would lift the lip to see if the teeth are good or bad but then, all of our pet dentistry is performed under anaesthetic.
“We always do a blood test first to make the animal is healthy enough for any procedure.”
For Pet Dental Month during August and September, Bass Hill Vet is offering customers a free dental check and $100 off a scale and polish as well as a free dental stick and flea control product plus you’ll go in the draw to win a 14-kilo bag of Royal Canine Dental food.
To make an appointment, call 9724 1927.