SQSPCA to start dentistry program

ContributedFrom left, Cooperstown Rotarians Judy Steiner-Grin and Richard Sternberg; SQSPCA Adoption Counselor Tania Puglia; veterinarian Dr. Julie Huntsman and SQSPCA Medical Coordinator Sara Haddad examine Esther, a dachshund.

The Susquehanna Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is closer to establishing its own animal dental service program, thanks to Cooperstown Rotarians.

According to a SQSPCA media release, Rotary Club of Cooperstown officials submitted a community grant request in May on behalf the SQSPCA for the purchase of dental models, equipment, charts and other resource materials. On July 22, club President Judy Steiner-Grin received confirmation that the grant had been approved.

“Cooperstown’s Rotary Club is part of an international fellowship of people who believe in service above self in each community and around the globe. This grant continues the local club’s contribution of money and time,” Steiner-Grin said in the release. “This financial contribution is one of many local efforts. We are an active organization of people with heart, glad to help our community thrive.”

Among the items purchased by the SQSPCA with these grant monies are:

• Transparent canine and feline dental models that enable the veterinarian to better visualize the location of roots during dental procedures and allow technicians and assistants to learn dental anatomy more easily;

• Dental “success kits” including procedural productivity tools and client educational materials;

• A barrier sealant applicator gun and cartridge to reduce plaque and tartar formation;

• Canine and feline dental charts;

• Dental solution fluid to reduce bur cutting time and mask mouth odors;

• Paste to remove dental plaque and external stains, and to further reduce retention of plaque.

“This grant comes at an ideal time,” SQSPCA Executive Director Stacie Haynes said. “Our new medical suite includes a wet treatment table, and thanks to the tremendously successful SHELTER US Campaign, we were also able to purchase state-of-the-art dental equipment.

“These materials are the next step in the process as we get ready to begin performing dental treatments on our animals in-house,” Haynes said.

Previously, the SQSPCA lacked the necessary equipment and outsourced most of the dental work. Dr. Julie Huntsman, the shelter’s lead veterinarian, “has extensive experience in dog and cat dental procedures and is excited to start using the new machines,” the release said.

“Unfortunately, we have never had a dental unit onsite and, as a result, we have had to send our dogs and cats out for any necessary dental work. These procedures come at a high cost,” Haynes said. “In the first quarter of 2021 alone, we spent more than $3,500 on feline dental procedures, an average of almost $1,200 per month for routine cleanings, surgical extractions and radiographs.” 

Haynes said animals were surrendered to the shelter “with extreme dental issues” that prevented them from eating properly, often causing severe discomfort or pain, and could not be rehomed without dental treatment.

Because of the capital campaign and the assistance of the Rotary Club, the SQSPCA can now treat most dental problems in-house at about half the cost and also decrease the length of stay for animals treated at the shelter versus those treated off-site.

According to Haynes, the Cooperstown Rotarians have been “a tremendous help” to the SQSPCA before, during and after the move to the new facility.

“When the SQSPCA needed help to move from the former building to the new campus, the Rotary Club of Cooperstown was there to help with hands, hand trucks and a willing spirit,” Steiner-Grin said.

“Rotarians will assist us as trained volunteers, both helping to prepare the service area and the dental instruments,” Haynes said.

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