What is AVDC?

The American Veterinary Dental College (AVDC) is the clinical specialist organization for veterinary dentists, recognized by the American Board of Veterinary Specialties of the American Veterinary Medical Association. For more information on veterinary specialists, go to the ABVS page on the AVMA web site.

The Diplomates of the AVDC provide specialist dental care for patients. If you are a pet-owner seeking advice on a dental or oral problem, please check out INFORMATION FOR OWNERS.

The primary objectives of AVDC are to determine the standards required for recognition of board-certified veterinary dental specialists, and to conduct the credentials review and examination procedures necessary to identify veterinarians who have reached the specialist veterinary dentist standard. Detailed information on these processes is available by clicking: INFORMATION FOR VETERINARIANS.

In addition to expert care of individual patients provided by Diplomates, the AVDC plays a major role in prevention of oral disease by sponsoring the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) which awards the VOHC Seal of Acceptance to oral home care products that meet pre-set standards of effectiveness in dental plaque and calculus control.

Dental Diseases in Animals

Oral and dental diseases unfortunately are very common in companion and performance animals. In fact, periodontal disease (gum disease) is the most common clinical condition in companion animals. It causes bad breath, oral pain, behavioral changes such as reduced appetite, and may affect distant organs such as the kidneys, liver and heart. For more information about periodontal disease in companion animals, see VOHC.
In addition to periodontal disease, many other abnormalities can affect the mouth and teeth. Has your pet had its mouth examined recently? If not, check with your veterinarian, who will refer you to a Diplomate of the AVDC when necessary. Good oral health is an important component of good general health for your pet!

History of the AVDC

The AVDC was established in 1988 by an organizing committee of 8 veterinarians who were recognized as experts in veterinary dentistry in clinical care, research, publications or in professional education. The eight veterinarians were: Gary Beard, Ben Colmery, Keith Grove, Colin Harvey, Sandy Manfra, Tom Mulligan, Don Ross, Chuck Williams.

The College and Organizing Committee members are grateful for the support provided by human dentist Dr. Peter Emily, Honorary Diplomate AVDC, during formation of the College.

Provisional accreditation as a veterinary specialty college was granted in 1988 by the American Board of Veterinary Specialties following review of a detailed application indicating the need for a veterinary dental specialty.

The first examination for new members was held in 1989. Full recognition as an approved specialty was granted in 1995, and the College has grown rapidly. A list of current AVDC diplomates is available by clicking the Locate a Veterinary Dentist link at the top right corner of the screen. An equine dental specialty was added and recognized by ABVS in 2014; as a result, the original AVDC non-species' diploma program has been renamed the AVDC Small Animal Diploma program.

The AVDC is unusual among ABVS-approved colleges in that the discipline largely developed as a result of interest and expertise developed by veterinarians in small animal practice, rather than as a result of being nurtured in veterinary schools. Human dentists have made significant contributions to the development of veterinary dentistry, and collaboration between the two professions is on-going.

The first AVDC-approved full-time residency training program was established in 1989. For the first 20 years, most applicants to the College were veterinarians who developed the required knowledge and experience in an 'alternate pathway' part-time program from practice. In 2014, AVDC changed its training program requirements to emphasize direct diplomate supervision by requiring that applicants complete a full-time or part-time residency training program.