As a follow up to my last post, there has been another significant development in the on-going debate about teeth cleaning and the practice of veterinary medicine in California. Existing law provides that a person is practicing veterinary medicine when performing dentistry or a dental operation on an animal. The debate centers around whether cleaning a pet’s teeth is a “dental operation”. AB 2304 was introduced to allow pet groomers to brush an animal’s teeth. This bill would have specifically excluded the use of non-motorized instruments to remove calculus, soft deposits, plaque, or stains from the exposed area of a household pet’s tooth above the gum line, from the definition of “dental operation” in California statute. The legislation specified that this service must be performed exclusively for cosmetic purposes and written permission must be obtained from the person requesting the service. However, the bill failed in the Assembly Business, Professions, and Consumer Committee on April 17, 2012 without receiving any affirmative votes. This failure means that veterinarians continue to be the only people that can legally perform dental procedures on animals in California.
What do you think about the debate in California?