AAHA mandates dental anesthesia, intubation for accredited veterinary hospitals
The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) recently announced that it will now require accredited veterinary hospitals to anesthetize and intubate patients for dental procedures—including dental cleanings. The new standard will apply to any AAHA practices scheduled for an accreditation evaluation on or after Nov. 1.
According to an AAHA release, the 2013 AAHA Dental Care Guidelines for Dogs and Cats prompted the association to update the dentistry section of its standards. The report, approved and endorsed by the American Veterinary Dental College, states that cleaning a companion animal’s teeth without general anesthesia and intubation is unacceptable and below the standard of care.
“At AAHA, we hold our accredited practices to the highest standard of veterinary excellence. We firmly believe that accredited practices should be practicing the best veterinary medicine,” says Kate Knutson, DVM, AAHA president, in the release. “The guidelines state that general anesthesia with intubation is necessary to properly assess and treat the companion animal dental patient. Because AAHA practices are expected to practice the highest level of veterinary excellence, AAHA’s leadership felt it necessary to update this dental standard so that they reflect best practices outlined in the guidelines.”
Anesthesia with intubation is necessary to remove plaque and tartar from the entire tooth, at least 60 percent of which is under the gum line, AAHA states in the release. “General anesthesia with intubation also facilitates pain-free probing of each tooth and provides the required immobilization necessary to take intraoral dental films,” the release reads. “Without anesthesia, a veterinary professional can only partially clean the exposed crown, which is more cosmetic than therapeutic.”