Anesthesia Free Dental Cleanings: A Bad Idea
Here at Aurora Hills Animal Hospital we do not perform anesthesia free dental cleanings. We also highly discourage this form of oral care to our clients. This type of oral care is in no way equal to a cleaning that is performed while your pet is under anesthesia. We have had cases where a pet has just undergone an anesthesia free cleaning only to have Dr. Reilly assess that the pet has many more problems that were not and could not be addressed via an anesthesia free cleaning. Subsequently the owner ends up paying for the second, proper, cleaning under anesthesia for something they were under the impression was getting corrected the first time.
Recently the Colorado Board of Veterinary Medicine has ruled that any institution advertising or representing that anesthesia free dental cleanings are equivalent to a dental cleaning performed under anesthesia is in violation of section 12-64-111(1)(d) and (j), C.R.S. This ruling gives the Board the ability to discipline & fine a licensee (veterinarian) for fraud, deception, misrepresentation, or dishonest or illegal practices in or connected with the practice of veterinary medicine; and the use of advertising or solicitation which is false or misleading.
The Board can take action against non-licensed individuals (an example of this would be groomers) if it is determined that the service they are providing is defined as "dentistry" and is not being performed under the "direct supervision" of a Colorado licensed veterinarian. In those cases, the Board may issue an Order to Cease & Desist the activity to the unlicensed individual and refer them for criminal prosecution with the District Attorney's office since the person has committed a class 2 misdemeanor for the first offense; for the second or any subsequent offense it will be classified as a class 6 felony.
Source material CVMA Voice 2012 issue #3
In August of 2013 the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) updated the policies pertaining to dental care guidelines for dogs and cats. Now, in order for animal hospitals to be considered for accreditation these hospitals must comply with the new policy guidelines. These new guidelines basically state that general anesthesia with intubation is necessary to properly assess and treat the dental patient. These new guidelines also have the full support of the American Veterinary Dental College.
The new guidelines state that use of intubation is needed to prevent the aspiration of water and debris during a dental procedure. They also state that anesthesia ensures that the patients health and safety is achieved by allowing for ?immobilization without discomfort, periodontal probing, intraoral radiology, and the removal of plaque and tartar above and below the gum line.
The new guidelines also state that when anesthesia is used, One trained person is dedicated to continuously monitor and record vital parameters of the patient, such as body temperature, heart rate and rhythm, respiration, oxygen saturation, blood pressure and end tidal CO2 levels. In addition warming devices must be used to prevent hypothermia and the back of the mouth must be suctioned and packed with gauze to prevent aspiration.
If you are intersed in reading more about the Colorado rules & statutets please visit www.dora.state.co.us/veterinarians/rules