Objective: To evaluate the knowledge, attitudes, and practices toward antibiotic use among board-certified veterinary dentists.
Sample: 104 veterinarians board certified by the American Veterinary Dental College.
Methods: A 30-question survey was generated from an online platform and sent via email listserv to board-certified veterinary dentists. Responses were examined to identify patterns or correlations among the variables of interest.
Results: There were 104 board-certified veterinary dentists who responded. The majority reported using prophylactic intraoperative antibiotics sparingly for dental procedures and predominately for patients with historic endocarditis or on immunosuppressive doses of steroids. For healthy patients, they reported that antibiotics are often prescribed during jaw fracture repair, maxillectomy/mandibulectomy, and treatment of stage 4 periodontal disease or periapical lucencies. Knowledge of antibiotic resistance and evidence-based antibiotic use were not significantly different between different practice sectors (academia vs private practice) or dependent on the duration of board certification. Dentists who did not believe antibiotics used postoperatively reduce local postoperative infection rates were less likely to prescribe injectable intraoperative antibiotics for the prevention of postoperative infection. No other variables were associated with the likelihood of prescribing intraoperative antibiotics. More than 95% of veterinary dentists surveyed agreed that specific antibiotic use guidelines for veterinary dentistry would help reduce inappropriate use of antibiotics.
Clinical relevance: There are differences among veterinary dentists regarding which procedures and patient-specific comorbidities they believe necessitate the use of prophylactic antibiotics. The development of a consensus statement and prospective studies of current antibiotic use are important next steps to improving antibiotic stewardship in veterinary dentistry.
Keywords: 17 antibiotic prophylaxis; antibiotic resistance; antibiotic stewardship; oral surgery; veterinary dentistry.