Inside AAHA: February 2021

New board member Scott Driever, DVM, discusses the importance of client education on pet dental health. Also, announcing the 2021 AAHA/AVMA Telehealth Guidelines for Small-Animal Practice, Dear AAHA addresses sterilization for packs and pouches, tips for National Pet Dental Health Month, and a CE spotlight.

View from the Board

Dental Makes a Difference

We have heard over the years how important dentistry is to the practice of best medicine, and how important it is for the growth and profitability of our practices through the income it generates. I have taken a personal interest in this field over the past few years and have learned a tremendous amount of information I did not get in veterinary school. My learning curve was steep, and I am still learning with every patient. Dentistry has been a decent income generator in my practice, but that pales in comparison to the lives that have been changed by addressing infected, painful mouths in my patients and affording them the quality of life they deserve. I am always amazed at how much more disease I find than I think will be there when I examine the mouth under sedation, get radiographs, and clean the teeth. I also never tire of pet owners telling me how much better their pet feels after addressing their dental disease.

I get asked all the time by clients, “Don’t you wish your patients could talk?” My answer now is, “They do, we just need to know how to listen.” This does not just apply to dental disease; it applies to anything that can adversely affect our patients. Many times, our patients have pain and are suffering in silence. Pain management has come a long way since I began practicing, and we have a long way yet to go. Dental disease is an area where we can diagnose the source of pain and often treat it, giving our patients much-needed comfort and relief. Being veterinary healthcare providers allows us to educate our clients to address a silent and many times painful condition that many of our patients suffer from, but that many of our clients genuinely do not fully understand. They may take themselves to the dentist once or twice a year for a dental cleaning, but assume a dental treat is going to do the trick to keep dental disease at bay in their pets. Part of the Veterinarian’s Oath is “the prevention and relief of animal suffering.” This is an excellent place to use our knowledge and educate our clients about what dental disease is and how it affects their pets. It also allows us to explain the importance of comfortable mouths and to help as many pets as possible live pain-free and have the best quality of life possible because that is what they deserve.

As we celebrate Dental Month, it is important to remember why we do what we do. It is equally important to remember that client education about dental disease and our focus on helping our patients live without mouth pain do not stop with the turn of the calendar page. Every month is dental month in my hospital because every patient deserves dental care.

Scott Driever
Scott Driever, DVM, is a new director on the AAHA board. Driever is a Houston native who received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Texas A&M University in 2000. He began his career at Animal Hospital Highway 6 in Sugarland, Texas, where he became a partner in 2005 and purchased the practice in 2015. He is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Texas Veterinary Medical Association, the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management, the American Association of Feline Practitioners, and the Harris County Veterinary Medical Association.

2021 AAHA/AVMA Telehealth Guidelines for Small-Animal Practice

Telehealth isn’t coming; it’s here. And you’re already doing it!

Every patient-centered phone call, email, and text is part of veterinary telehealth—but are you using it as efficiently and effectively as possible? Probably not. These step-by-step guidelines are your how-to resource for upgrading your telehealth services, from choosing technology products to modifying workflows.

COVID-19 accelerated consumer expectations for on-demand and virtual services. In response, AAHA and the AVMA teamed up to create convenient ways to integrate telehealth into your practice, engaging your clients, saving money, decreasing staff burnout, and fully utilizing your team to deliver high-quality connected care.

The 2021 AAHA/AVMA Telehealth Guidelines for Small-Animal Practice are designed to supplement the AVMA Guidelines for the Use of Telehealth in Veterinary Practice found at avma.org/telehealth.

A complimentary copy of the new guidelines is included with this February 2021 issue of Trends, or find them online.

Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health USA Inc., CareCredit, and Merck Animal Health have supported the development of the 2021 AAHA/AVMA Telehealth Guidelines for Small-Animal Practice and resources through an educational grant to AAHA.


AAHA-Accredited Practice of the Year

“Wow! Wow! That’s amazing! I’m a little emotional. It’s been a lot of work. . . . It’s really an award for the team.”

—Jeffrey Steed, DVM, owner of the 2020 AAHA-Accredited Practice of the Year, Manheim Pike Animal Hospital

See the emotional win during the 2020 awards ceremony and get on-demand access to 2020 conference sessions for a full year at aaha.org/connexity.

Could your team be next year’s winner? The 2021 AAHA-Accredited Practice of the Year submissions are due March 1.

Apply now!


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Dear AAHA

Dear AAHA,

What’s your recommended sterilization cycle for packs and pouches?

—Questioning in Carlsbad

Dear Questioning,

AAHA does not suggest any specific time frame for a sterilization cycle because of the differences in how materials react to humid and dry climates, as well as varying storage conditions, which greatly affect shelf life. Instead, we recommend contacting the wrapping-material manufacturer to get personalized guidance.

—AAHA’s Member Experience Team

Have a question you’d like AAHA to answer? Email us at [email protected].


National Pet Dental Health Month

Get the word out about oral health this month—and keep patients healthier all year round.

Let clients know:

  • Most dogs and cats already have some dental disease by age three.
  • Dental disease contributes to other health problems.
  • At-home dental care helps!
  • Annual cleanings are the best way to prevent the tartar, plaque, and bacteria buildup that leads  to infection.

AAHA-Accredited Members: Download the National Pet Dental Health Month toolkit


Stack Your CE Schedule

Exciting new courses for the veterinary profession—free for AAHA members

More courses are added to AAHA Learning all the time, so check back often.

Just Released!

  • The Secret Lives of Fleas: What Really Goes On in the Home
  • 2020 AAHA Introduction to Cyber Security
  • Critical Connections in Feline Patients

Course Spotlights

How Can Telehealth Make My Life Easier?

“This course provides a truly interactive view into a day in the life of a veterinary practitioner who leverages telehealth services,” said Laura Shively, MS, AAHA’s online learning programs manager. “It’s comprised of interactive video examples that give learners opportunities for experiential reflection. I recommend this course both to people who are new to telemedicine, but also to those who are more familiar with it, and want to see it in action.”

The Power of the Injectable: How to Protect Your Patients and Your Pharmacy

Discover the advantages of an annual heartworm prophylaxis and treatment in canine healthcare. This course outlines a study investigating the efficacy of Proheart 12 (moxidectin) versus other preventives for JYD-34 heartworms. Natalie Marks, DVM, describes a 100% efficacy rate in preventing JYD-34 ML-resistant strains of heartworms when administered within 30 days of larva inoculation. As competition from online pharmacies increases, consider the business merits of offering moxidectin within the practice.

Register, explore, and learn more!

Photo credits: Nils Jacobi/iStock via Getty Images Plus, simonkr/E+ via Getty Images, ©AAHA/Robin Taylor, Capuski/iStock via Getty Images Plus

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