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Gift to College Expands Service and Education in Veterinary Dentistry

PHOTO: Dr. Richard Meadows examines the teeth of an animal patient.

Dr. Richard Meadows examines the teeth of an animal patient.

A lot of Missouri animals will be leaving their toothaches behind at the MU Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital because of a recent gift.

Earlier this year, Pfizer Animal Health donated $76,000 to the hospital to update the clinical dentistry examination room and research laboratory.

The gift comes amid a growing demand for veterinary dentists, said Dr. Meadows, clinical associate professor of veterinary medicine and surgery. Today, there fewer than 80 board-certified veterinarians who specialize in veterinary dentistry. There are probably fewer than 100 such specialists in the world.

Such expertise is important as recent research has found that dogs and cats three years and older have an almost 85 percent chance of developing dental disease. Left untreated, such conditions can trigger other medical disorders leading to heart, kidney, and liver damage.

Dr. Meadow's MU veterinary dentistry training facility will be the only one in Missouri and one of only approximately three permanent sites in the US . He plans to offer course work for DVM and graduate students.

Dr. Michael Cavanaugh, director of the Pfizer Veterinary Specialty Team, said his company is currently funding similar efforts at two other colleges of veterinary medicine. The Pfizer grant purchases multiple sets of hand instruments used to clean and extract teeth, dental x-ray machines, and air-driven instruments used to grind, shape, and polish teeth.

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Last Update: February 24, 2012