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Court issues order concerning animal dentistry

April 03, 2014

Non-veterinarians, unless supervised by a licensed veterinarian, are prohibited from performing dentistry on animals according to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

Following an extensive investigation, the College of Veterinarians of Ontario obtained an Order from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice on March 24, 2014 preventing non-veterinarians from providing, or offering to provide, so-called “anaesthesia-free dental cleaning”, including “scaling, polishing and anti-bacterial gum treatment”. The Order was obtained on consent against Jill Thompson and her business, Pup Star.

“The College’s position is that animal dentistry is an aspect of veterinary medicine and should, therefore, only be practised by a licensed veterinarian or experienced delegate. The College is pleased to see the court has taken this action,” said College Registrar and Chief Executive Officer Jan Robinson.

Consistent with its Position Statement on Veterinary Dentistry, the College has long taken the position that veterinary dentistry includes cleaning animals’ teeth and that only veterinarians may practise veterinary dentistry. Expert evidence supported the College’s position that permitting non-veterinarians to provide veterinary dentistry including dental hygiene creates serious risks to animals.

Specifically, the Order obtained by the College states:

THIS COURT ORDERS the Respondents, Jill Thompson, personally, and Jill Thompson, carrying on business as Pup Star, and any employees of Jill Thompson (collectively, “Pup Star”) comply with section 11 of the Veterinarians Act and, in particular, that Pup Star refrain from:
(i) engaging in the practice of veterinary medicine, including the scaling or polishing of the teeth of an animal, and performing dental hygiene on an animal, although brushing, flossing and spraying a non-clinical breath spray are not prohibited,
(ii) holding itself out as engaging in the practice of veterinary medicine.

The College acts in the public interest and has been granted the authority, by statute, to obtain Orders preventing non-veterinarians from practising veterinary medicine. In the event that a member of the public is of the view that a non-veterinarian is practising veterinary medicine, they are invited to contact the College at inquiries@cvo.org.

The College of Veterinarians of Ontario exists to protect and serve the public interest through the regulation of the practice of veterinary medicine. Accordingly, veterinarians are licensed, facilities are accredited, standards and policies are developed and maintained, and an investigations and resolutions process is available. The College licenses approximately 4,500 veterinarians and accredits over 2,100 facilities in Ontario.