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Committee Focus

Published: 10/25/2016

In this issue we bring you up to date with the work of the WSAVA’s Newly Created Dental Guidelines Committee.

The WSAVA Dental Guidelines Committee (DGC) was established in 2015. It is co-chaired by Brook Niemiec, a Board Certified Specialist in Veterinary Dentistry of the American and European Veterinary Dental Colleges and a Fellow of the Academy of Veterinary Dentistry.

Why has the WSAVA created a Dental Guidelines Committee?

Dental disease is the most common medical issue in small animal medicine with 70% of cats and 80% of dogs having a degree of periodontal disease by the age of three, aside from other oral problems. There is a serious lack of dentistry training on the global veterinary curriculum and little CE on this vital topic. The DGC aims to help to fill the void and bring about a significant improvement in the level of dental care we provide to our patients around the world.

Why is it so important that veterinarians are better informed about dental disease?

While dental disease is common, few patients show signs of pain so it is not always picked up. Unfortunately, it brings local and regional consequences, for instance, eye infection, mandibular fractures abscesses and an increased risk of oral cancer. Systemic consequences include problems in the major organs. Because of the significant pain caused by dental disease and the consequences of infection, under and untreated oral and dental pathology significantly decrease a patient’s quality of life, making it an important welfare issue.

What is your first priority?

We are working on a set of WSAVA Global Dental Guidelines which will set standards for care and recommend best practice, based on the WSAVA’s established three tier model. They will include a simple but effective method internet-based oral scoring system and provide tools for the diagnosis and treatment of oral and dental disease.

Following the publication of the Guidelines, we will develop educational materials for members. They will be supported by continuing education (CE), both live and online.

When will the Global Dental Guidelines be ready?

We expect to present them at WSAVA World Congress in Copenhagen in September 2017.

Who is on the DGC?

We have invited Board Certified veterinary dentists from five continents (North and South America, Europe, Africa, and Australia) to join the DGC to give us a world-wide perspective. The DGC also includes members of the WSAVA’s Global Pain Council and Global Nutrition Committee. Because of the significant pain and systemic effects of oral and dental maladies, we have also included a member of the WSAVA Animal Welfare and Welfare Committee. The full list of members is:

  • Brook A Niemiec, DVM, DAQVDC, DEVDC, FAVD (Co-Chair)

  • Jerzy Gawor, DVM, DAVDC, DEVDC, FAVD (Co-Chair)

  • Marco Gioso, DVM, DAVDC

  • David Clarke, DVM, DAVDC

  • Cedric Tutt, DVM, DEVDC

  • Ana Nemec, DVM, DAVDC, DEVDC

  • Gottfried Morgenegg, DVM


  • Paulo Steagall, MV, MS, PhD, DACVAA

  • Rod Jouppi, DVM

How are the Global Dental Guidelines being funded?

We are grateful for the generous support of our sponsors: Addison Biologics, Hill’s Pet Nutrition, KRUUSE, Merial and Virbac.

Brook Niemiec says: “Oral and dental disease are, by far, the most common medical conditions in small animal veterinary medicine but, because pets rarely show outward signs of disease, treatment is often delayed or not performed at all. In addition to the problem of a lack of perceived pain, dentistry is a subject clouded by myths and misinformation and dental education in the veterinary curriculum is limited.

“We aim to raise awareness of just how common dental disease is and to highlight the local and systemic consequences if it is left untreated. We also hope to improve dental education internationally and to promote the importance of veterinary dentistry.”

For more information on WSAVA DGC, please contact Brook Niemiec at