AVMA & LTVC endorses program to provide free dental exams to service dogs

Service animals – including guide dogs, service dogs, working dogs, military dogs, and search and rescue dogs – selflessly give so much to the people they serve and the public. LTVC is giving back to these incredibly talented animals by offering free dental exams to service animals for the entire month of June and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has wholeheartedly endorsed that contribution to some of our nation’s hardest workers.

“I’m enthusiastic about this program because it helps keep service animals healthy so they can do the important work that helps so many people. From helping the sight impaired to finding a lost child during a disaster or detecting explosives at airports, service dogs are tops in their field.  But they can’t tell you when their teeth hurt—only a veterinarian can do that,” says Dr. Douglas Aspros, president of the AVMA. “Dental problems are the most common health problems veterinarians see in dogs and cats, and they can be painful and debilitating if not treated appropriately. More importantly, prevention is a great deal better than any cure. A recent study showed that the average cost to treat dental disease is three times more than the cost of prevention. By identifying dental issues early in our service animals, we can help these wonderful animals keep doing work they love to do.”

During the Service Dog Oral Healthcare Exam program, LTVC will provide complimentary oral healthcare examinations, looking for signs of periodontal disease, fractured teeth, discolored teeth, oral masses, and other oral and dental diseases that can cause pain or discomfort for service dogs. If oral or dental abnormalities are found, a treatment plan will be discussed.  As an added plus, we will teach service dog owners and handlers about the benefits of preventative oral healthcare.

“This program is a wonderful opportunity for veterinarians to offer service dogs a necessary and potentially life-saving service,” says Dr. Ryan Canales. “We thank the American Veterinary Dental College for organizing this fine event.  Many of those service dogs that are in need of dental care can get it and continue to serve the public pain free.”

Guide, handicapped assistance, detection, therapy, military and rescue animal owners have until June 15 to sign up for free dental exams.Times may vary, depending on the facility, and appointments are provided on a first-come, first-served basis.