The British Veterinary Dental Association (BVDA) was established in 1988 by a group of Veterinary Surgeons who had a particular interest in Veterinary Dentistry. The aims of the association are to educate and train Veterinary and Dental Surgeons in animal dentistry and to promote practice, teaching and research of animal dentistry.

The association has an active membership who undertake the teaching of dentistry to Veterinary Surgeons, students and Veterinary Nurses. This teaching takes the form of courses and study groups. The membership is also involved with promoting veterinary dentistry to the public, highlighting the importance of good oral care. We also have presentations at BSAVA Congress and the London Vet Show periodically.

Membership is available to accredited medical professionals.

Each year the BVDA holds a Scientific Meeting where there are papers presented on veterinary dentistry, interactive sessions and state of the art lectures. This also gives the membership a chance to socialise and talk about particular cases.

Paul Cooper BVDA President

Dear BVDA Member

This letter is to introduce myself, Paul Cooper, to you as your new President, voted in at the AGM in Birmingham in April 2019.

Many of you may already know me from my time on the Board of the European Veterinary Dental Society from 2000 – 2010, including President 2004-2006, and Treasurer 2008-2010. Some of the older members may even remember me as the BVDA Treasurer in the mid 1990s! My dental training started with BVDA courses from 1990, and progressed via the 2nd ever ESAVS Luxembourg course 1997-2000.

My passion for veterinary dentistry is, I hope, self evident, but I am especially keen on the improvement of the practice of veterinary dentistry through engagement with the veterinary profession and owners of our patients.

The BVDA was established in the 1980s, and was instrumental in establishing dentistry as more than just cracking off tartar and pulling loose teeth in cats and dog, and rasping cheek teeth blindly in horses. The veterinary profession and the patient owning public have evolved significantly since those early days, and it has become obvious to me that the BVDA is in need of an overhaul to meet the demands of current veterinary practice.

To this end I intend to work with the committee to make the BVDA more relevant to the 2020s and beyond, to make our presence more widely known, and to be the organisation everyone with an interest in veterinary dentistry wants to join.

I currently have a large ‘to do’ list, and an even larger ‘wish’ list, but I need your help to drive change forward.

One of my first moves will be to start a social media page for members to post relevant topics of interest – courses, new books, recent publications, articles in obscure journals they have seen, veterinary dental news etc. I am also keen to promote the dentistry group for discussion of clinical cases. Although this is open to all veterinary surgeons who register (for free) on their site, I am in discussions to increase the presence of the BVDA on that site.

The BVDA is governed by its Constitution which is 20 years old, and although amendments have been voted on at AGMs in the past, these were not recorded in the published version. This no longer fits the current BVDA structure, still less the modern forward thinking Association we need to be. I will be taking professional advice with a view to updating it at the AGM in 2020.

The BVDA, in cooperation with the BVNA, is running a very successful Oral Care Nurse Certificate, which 2600 nurses have completed so far. I am keen to build on this, and also to encourage nurses to join the BVDA through closer cooperation with the BVNA.

The Annual Scientific meeting in April was the best for many years thanks to my predecessor Alex Smithson’s decision to invite world renowned speakers starting three years ago, and increase the size of the room, which resulted in a full to capacity room. We are also grateful to our commercial sponsors whose generous support enabled such a prestigious meeting. Plans are being drawn up for the meeting in 2020 to run two streams – an advanced one with a prominent overseas speaker, and a basic stream for those starting out their veterinary dental careers. Although this meeting is now small animal only, there is a pre BEVA meeting to cater for our colleagues dealing with equines.

In talking with members both during and after the April meeting, it was clear there is great enthusiasm for dentistry and many forward thinking ideas were put forward, especially by our younger members. I would ask every member to think about what they want from the BVDA and also what they can contribute, and to email, phone or text me, or a member of the committee with your ideas. I also intend to invite one or more of our enthusiastic younger members onto the committee to aid our drive to increase membership.

One of the main benefits of membership of the BVDA is the Journal of Veterinary Dentistry which all members receive four times a year, and is the official journal of all the major veterinary dental associations across the world, including the BVDA.  I would urge members to take up the offer of the ‘on-line’ version which avoids the 2-3 month delay experienced by the printed one, and also offers access to the previous five years of publications. There are also some members who receive a copy of the JVD from their membership of other organisations, such as the AVDS/ AVDC, and so we will introduce a reduced fee membership category without the JVD for those people.

I am keen to work with our course organisers, Matthew and Megan, to continue to run courses for the benefit of members principally, and try to find areas of training not currently covered by UK based commercially run courses. I would like to hold an ‘Introduction to Advanced Dentistry’ practical course, where those who have mastered the basics can see what is on offer from referral veterinary dentists, and hopefully be inspired to take this further through a residency, or a structured course with the ESAVS or Accesia, to learn these techniques. We will also work with sponsors to run more basic courses, including dental radiography if there is a demand.

I am also mindful of the need to engage with owners to provide balanced advice, and point them in the direction of our members for dental advice. We need to discuss ways to achieve this aim with our members, and also our sponsors who are often active within this field. I am keen to promote our endorsement of the VOHC Seal of Approval (see for more information) and to use social media to inform owners of the benefits of consulting with our members regarding oral care for their pets and horses.

For those of you who have read this far- well done, and thank you. Please take a little extra time to think about what you want from the BVDA, what you can do for the BVDA, and what would encourage your colleagues to join. Then email/ phone or text myself, or any member of the committee with those ideas. Please do ‘log-on’ as a member to the website, which is  updated regularly and kept relevant, and update your contact details to keep your email address current since this will become our favoured method of communication to not only save costs, but to deliver a better service to members. Plus look out for our new social media presence (you will be emailed once it is ‘live’).

Kind regards

Paul Cooper BVSc MRCVS,  Applecross, Friars Hill, Guestling, East Sussex,TN35 4EP    07714 899744

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