Spring 2019

A Lot to Chew On

Dental Week helps prepare veterinary students to meet the needs of future patients.

News Staff

Previous Next

Photo: Shutterstock

By age three, most dogs and cats show signs of oral disease, which not only affects an animal’s mouth and quality of life, but also can lead to serious heart, lung, and kidney problems. To better prepare veterinary students to meet the needs of these patients, Cummings School launched its first-ever Dental Week this spring.

Organized by veterinarian Greg Wolfus, V98, and certified veterinary technician Kate Zukowski from Tufts at Tech Community Veterinary Clinic in Worcester, Massachusetts, Dental Week drew on the expertise of 15 alumni and other volunteer instructors. Together, clinicians representing many different regional practices and specialty hospitals taught 100 third-year students the latest in dental care.

The week kicked off with a review of charting, scaling, and polishing teeth, after which students conducted oral exams on pet “volunteers.” They then used donated cadavers to practice taking dental radiographs, performing nerve blocks, and extracting dog and cat teeth. The clinical instructors wrapped up with a discussion of how to communicate the importance of these procedures to clients.

The intensive weeklong course was developed in response to surveys of graduating seniors, alumni, and employers reflecting a desire for more dental training for students. “Dental Week was a great example of teamwork, with veterinarians and technicians working together, and general practitioners, academic clinicians, and specialists all focused on a common goal,” said Cummings School Dean ad interim Joyce Knoll. She thanked veterinarians Bill Rosenblad, V96, the past president of the Tufts Veterinary Alumni Association, and Rich Levine, regional medical director at VCA Animal Hospitals, for helping to develop the course’s learning objectives and participating all week, as well as the large team of veterinarians and veterinary technicians who helped train students.

Top Stories

Swimming with Sharks

An alum helps us better understand sharks through photography and research.

Looking through the Eyes of Animals

Temple Grandin on the importance of first impressions, why “draconian leash laws” are a problem for dogs, and more.

Are Essential Oils Dangerous to Pets?

Yes, they can be, so follow these tips to keep your animals safe.

Editor's Picks

Meet Our New Dean

A visionary leader in veterinary medicine takes the helm of New England’s only veterinary school.

A Chicken and Egg Problem

Urban dwellers looking to raise backyard chickens must take precautions to prevent lead exposure.

Mastering the Art of Communication

Before heading into clinics and hospitals, veterinary students practice having difficult conversations with clients.