The AVDC Service Dog Oral Health Exam program is a philanthropic event provided to the Service Dog public by board certified veterinary dentists of the American Veterinary Dental College. If your Service Dog qualifies, it would receive a complimentary oral health screening exam in June to help identify any problems that may affect the dog's oral comfort and health.
Our veterinary dentists understand the tremendous daily contribution Service Dogs make to the lives of individuals and to all of us as a society. In return, we want assist in these efforts, by assuring that the Service Dogs can have pain free and healthy mouths.
- To promote oral health awareness in Service Dogs by providing oral exams during June.
- To identify painful oral disease and provide treatment options to alleviate pain, and
- To benefit those who rely on Service Dogs by teaching preventative oral care in order to provide their dogs pain, free, healthy mouths.
- To enhance referral relationships with primary care veterinarians.
The mission of the AVDC Service Dog Oral Health Exam is to promote oral health awareness in service dogs in order to prevent and relieve pain, which will benefit, not only the service dog, but all the people they serve every day.
The AVDC Service Dog Oral Health program will provide free oral health screening to Service Dog groups including seeing eye dogs, hearing dogs, handicapped assistance dogs, detection dogs, search and rescue dogs and for certified therapy dogs (through the Delta Society or similar). Dogs must be active working dogs that are certified by an organization or are currently enrolled in a formal training program. The certifying agency must be regional or local. Essentially, the dogs need to have some form of certification and/or training paperwork from an agency to qualify for this program.
While we would like to offer complimentary oral exams to all dogs performing assistance to their owners/handlers, this program is limited to the groups listed above. There are limited appointments available to examine these animals therefore a specific group has been defined.
How will this work?
Owners/handlers of the dog will register the animal via an online registration form. Once registered, the owner/handler will be given a confirmation and list of participating dentists in their area. The owners/handlers call a participating office to schedule an appointment and provide the registration number to the clinic which will be given on the confirmation form. This process is included on the registration form.
Appointment Dates and Time
Appointment dates and times will vary based on the availability of exams offered by each clinic. The clinic sets the schedule for exams for certain set days, select times on specific days, or during times of their choice during the month of June. Identify yourself as participating in the AVDC Service Dog Oral Health Exam and provide the registration number given on your confirmation form. The appointment will be set by the clinic at that time. Some clinics may request that you present certification of the Service Dog's formal training. Be sure to ask if this is needed at the time of appointment scheduling.
Once the owner/handler has registered the Service Dog, they are asked to respect the dentist's time and show up for the appointment. Arriving on time is essential in allowing as many Service Dogs to receive exams as scheduled.
What should I expect during the appointment?
The complimentary oral health exam is of a screening nature. No sedation or anesthesia will be given. Factors that limit our ability to detect every dental or oral problem in your dog may include:
- Lack of patient cooperation can impair proper visualization, especially of the back of the mouth
- Many periodontal problems can be detected only by probing under the gum with a dental instrument with the dog under anesthesia,
- Dental tartar can hide underlying cavities or fractures.
If any problems are found at the time of the exam or if additional tests are needed (e.g. dental x-rays, periodontal exam under anesthesia, etc.), the dental specialist will present options to best treat your Service Dog.
A copy of the exam form will be given to you to give to your primary care veterinarian. Data collected on each dog will remain private and be utilized for research purposes only.
How do I participate?
Step 1: Registration.
If your Service Dog qualifies, register on-line. If you do not register, you cannot participate in the program.
Step 2: Locating a clinic.
Once you have registered, the confirmation page will provide you with a link to a page that will provide a list of participating clinics. (Clinics may not be available in every state.)
Step 3: Scheduling
After locating the clinic you would like to visit, call the office directly, identify yourself as participating in the Service Dog Oral Health Exam program and make an appointment. Dates and times will vary from clinic to clinic throughout June. We suggest you register in early May to ensure a better chance of securing an appointment at your Service Dog. Slots are limited, and those that wait to register may find it difficult to find a clinic that has filled all appointments for this program. There are no "rain checks".
Step 4: Visit
Visit the dentist at the appointed time. Please call ahead if you will be late or have to cancel your appointment.
Step 5: After the Exam
After your Service Dog's oral exam is complete, your veterinary dentist will give you a copy of the examination form and information. Please take this back to your primary care veterinarian to complete your Service Dog's medical care to schedule any diagnostics or treatment that may be needed. Your primary care veterinarian is an important part of the team in providing your Service Dog with the best oral health care. The dental specialist will make a recommendation for treatment for your service dog instead of present options.
Most important: You MUST pre-register prior to calling to make your appointment with veterinary dental specialist.