Dental disease is very common in dogs and veterinary professional dental cleaning and examination, together with daily dental home care, is the foundation for good dental health. To our knowledge, no previous study has investigated professional dental cleaning routines in small animal veterinary practice. A validated questionnaire survey was distributed to all veterinarians and veterinary nurses with registered e-mail addresses in the Swedish national registry (veterinarians; n?=?3657, veterinary nurses; n?=?1650). Response rates were 32% for veterinarians (V) and 38% for veterinary nurses (VN).
In total, 73% (V)/96% (VN) of respondents reported that professional dental cleaning was performed at their work place under general anesthesia, and 27% (V)/18% (VN) that dental cleaning was performed under sedation. Of the respondents, 43% (V)/96% (VN) considered regular dental cleaning under general anesthesia fairly or very important, and 49% (V)/47% (VN) stated that it was sometimes important for good dental health in dogs. A majority of respondents, 84% (V)/97% (VN), reported that dental extractions were performed at their clinic, and 72% (V)/90% (VN) had access to dental radiography equipment.
A majority of Swedish veterinarians and veterinary nurses perform professional dental cleaning under general anesthesia with access to dental radiography equipment, in accordance with national and international recommendations. However, a considerable proportion of professional dental cleanings were performed under sedation only, and extractions performed without access to dental radiography equipment were common, suggesting several areas of improvement in the routines in Swedish veterinary clinics and hospitals. Our results clearly indicate the need for improved educational efforts to increase the awareness among veterinary health professionals regarding guidelines and official recommendations in canine dental care.