Change to Calif. pet teeth cleaning regulation fails

April 18, 2012

California legislation that would have amended state code relating to the practice of teeth cleaning within veterinary medicine failed Tuesday without receiving a single affirmative vote.

The legislation, which would have allowed non-veterinarians to use a scaler on pets’ teeth, died in the Assembly Business, Professions and Consumer Committee April 17, 2012.

The legislation marks another chapter in the ongoing debate over veterinary dental care.

Veterinarians currently hold the exclusive legal right to use a scaler on pet teeth and perform other dental procedures on animals.

The bill proposed that non-veterinarians would be allowed to use nonmotorized instruments to remove calculus, soft deposits, plaque, or stains from an exposed area of a household pets tooth above the gum line, provided that the service is performed exclusively for cosmetic purposes and the person performing the service first obtains written permission from the person requesting the service. The bill would have exempted cosmetic teeth cleaning from classification as a "dental operation".

Under existing California law, a veterinarian licensed by the Veterinary Medical Board "practices veterinary medicine, surgery, and dentistry when engaged in various actions and procedures with respect to animals, including the performance of a surgical or dental operation".

The proposed legislation would have removed a cosmetic teeth cleaning service from the legal description of a "dental operation".

Had the bill passed, the person performing the teeth cleaning service would have been required to obtain written permission for the service:

"I hereby give permission to ____ to clean my pets teeth. I understand that this is a cosmetic procedure involving only that portion of the teeth that is exposed above the gum line, and is not intended to treat disease of the teeth or gums or as a substitute for regular veterinary dental care:

Pets name: ____

Owners name (or name of person requesting service): ___



Proponents of Assembly Bill 2304, including its author, Assemblyman Martin Garrick, R-Solana Beach, said allowing pet groomers to do cosmetic brushing would encourage better dental care because of lower cost, according to The Sacramento Bee. Veterinarians in opposition to the bill, however, have argued that loosening the regulation could endanger pet health and safety.
Read the text of the legislation.

NEWStat Legislation & regulation