Understanding antibiotic use in veterinary dentistry

photo of blue and white antibiotics

Understanding antibiotic use in veterinary dentistry

We hear this question a lot: “does my pet require antibiotics to manage dental disease?” And in the last 10 years, a lot has changed about antibiotic use in veterinary dentistry. In this blog post, we will provide you with our specialty community’s perspective on this important subject.


Antibiotic Use in Veterinary Dentistry

When it comes to antibiotic use in veterinary dentistry, it’s important to understand that these medications are used judiciously and in accordance with the specific needs of each patient. Veterinarians, including board-certified veterinary dentists, follow strict guidelines to ensure the health and safety of your pet.

  1. Infection control for those who need it most. One of the primary reasons antibiotics are used in veterinary dentistry is to control infection deep in the jawbones. Dental issues in pets, such as periodontal disease or tooth root abscesses, can lead to localized or systemic infections if not properly managed. Your veterinary dentist will carefully assess your pet’s individual situation and make informed decisions based on peer-reviewed guidelines. While many infected tissues are surgically debrided during oral surgery in our practice, deep bone infection (osteomyelitis) can not always be managed this way. Cancer patients and other immunocompromised patients, as well as patients with surgical implants, may receive antibiotics in our practice.
  2. Responsible antibiotic use now to safeguard the future. We take antibiotic use in veterinary dentistry very seriously. It’s essential to ensure that antibiotics are used responsibly to prevent the development of antibiotic resistance. A study published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine (Brown & Johnson, 2020) emphasizes the importance of proper antibiotic selection and dosing to minimize the risk of resistance. Veterinarians and veterinary dentists are well-trained in choosing the right antibiotics, administering them at the correct dosage, and monitoring their effects. Additionally, we encourage a full course of antibiotics, even if your pet starts feeling better, to ensure complete resolution of the infection.


Antibiotics and Oral Health

Your pet’s oral health is a vital component of their overall well-being. Antibiotics, when used in veterinary dentistry, play a crucial role in managing infections and promoting healing in patients whose immune systems may not be as successful in the postoperative period. It’s reassuring to know that these medications are prescribed judiciously, following rigorous guidelines and peer-reviewed research, to ensure the best possible care for your pets.

If you have concerns or questions about your pet’s dental health or antibiotic use, don’t hesitate to reach out to our board-certified veterinary dentistry team.


Helpful Links about Antibiotics in Veterinary Dentistry

For further reading on antibiotic stewardship in veterinary dentistry, here are some helpful links:




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