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Veterinarians Volunteer Holiday Weekend to Perform Dental Work at Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab, Utah

KANAB, Utah - Animal dentistry experts from San Diego returned to Best Friends Animal Society's Sanctuary in rural southern Utah to perform dental procedures on dogs and cats over the Thanksgiving weekend.

This was the second visit to Best Friends by a group of veterinarians led by board-certified veterinary dental specialist Dr. Brook A. Niemiec, DVM of Southern California Veterinary Dental Specialties & Oral Surgery.  During their visit, the team extracted 326 teeth, performed 24 root canals as well as a partial mandibulectomy and 2 dentigerous cyst removals on the 51 animals they treated.

"Our mission is to help Best Friends by reducing the number of animals on their dental needs list," Dr. Brook A. Niemiec said.

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary is the largest companion animal sanctuary in the nation with about 1,600 animals on any given day, said Dr. Susan Konecny, Best Friends Animal Society's medical director.

"In this season of thankfulness and giving, we want to express our sincere appreciation to Dr. Neimeic and the group of dental experts that provided state-of-the-art dental care to the Best Friend's residents in need of it," Konecny said.  "Often animals arriving at the sanctuary have had no previous dental care and as a result have significant oral problems.

"With the highly specialized procedures, technical expertise and equipment that were offered, this group of specialty veterinarians improved the quality of life for these patients, making them more adoptable and helping to educate our veterinary team on the newest procedures available in dentistry," Konecny said.

Dr. Katie Kangas, DVM, CVA of Integrative Veterinary Services, said "We came here to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary on our holiday weekend, which is an incredibly special way to spend Thanksgiving, to volunteer our time and work with the animals. We feel privileged to be able to make a difference, to make them happier and healthier and more comfortable, and hopefully more adoptable."

Niemiec said oral disease is the number one health problem in dogs and cats, "but unfortunately they don't show obvious outward signs however it is often a serious issue by the time it is detected. Dental problems can also hamper a homeless pet's ability to get adopted.

"So if a family wants to take a dog home that is in the sanctuary and he may be really cute but has a big dental bill in his future, they may take the dog next to him," Niemiec explains.

This visit, two European veterinarians joined the team. Dr. Rachel Perry of the United Kingdom and Dr. Camilla Heinze from Denmark who practices in Sweden, are being mentored by Niemiec to gain greater skill in animal dentistry. They said they were excited to be part of this visit to Best Friends to help the sanctuary animals. 

In addition to helping the dogs and cats at Best Friends' sanctuary, as well as local shelter animals in southern California, Southern California Veterinary Dental Specialties & Oral Surgery has started a "Pet's Tooth Fairy Fund"® to help pets whose owners cannot afford advanced dental treatment. For more information, please contact Info(at)scvds(dot)com.

The team:

Brook A. Niemiec, DVM

Southern California Veterinary Dental Specialties & Oral Surgery

San Diego and Murrieta, CA as well as Las Vegas, NV

Diplomate, American Veterinary Dental College

Diplomate, European Veterinary Dental College

Fellow, Academy of Veterinary Dentistry

Robert Furman, BVMS, MRCVS

Practice limited to Veterinary Dentistry & Oral Surgery

Southern California Veterinary Dental Specialties &; Oral Surgery

Irvine, Ontario, and Santa Barbara, CA

Amy Rossi, DVM

Veterinary Dentistry and Oral Surgery of New Mexico

Santa Fe and Albuquerque, N.M.  

Camilla Heinze DVM, RDH

Dyrlæge Camilla Heinze ApS, Denmark and Sweden

Rachel Perry, BSc, BVM&S, MANZCVS (Small Animal Dentistry & Oral Surgery), MRCVS, RCVS Advanced Practitioner, Veterinary Dentistry

Perry Dental Vet, East Sussex and West Sussex, United Kingdom

Kelly Brody, RVT

Southern California Veterinary Dental Specialties & Oral Surgery

Irvine, Ontario, and Santa Barbara, CA

Katie Kangas DVM, CVA

Integrative Veterinary Services

San Diego, CA


About Best Friends Animal Society®
Best Friends Animal Society is the only national animal welfare organization dedicated exclusively to ending the killing of dogs and cats in America's shelters. A leader in the no-kill movement, Best Friends runs the nation's largest no-kill sanctuary for companion animals, adoption centers and spay and neuter facilities in Los Angeles and Salt Lake City as well as lifesaving programs in partnership with more than 1,300 rescue groups and shelters across the country. Since its founding in 1984, Best Friends has helped reduce the number of animals killed in American shelters from 17 million per year to an estimated 4 million. By continuing to build effective initiatives that reduce the number of animals entering shelters and increase the number who find homes, Best Friends and its nationwide network of members and partners are working to Save Them All®.

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