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Veterinarians Donated Their Services Over The Weekend To Help Homeless Pets

What do you think your vet did over the Thanksgiving weekend? Ski perhaps? Sit in a comfy chair eating turkey? A group of animal dentistry experts from San Diego, California volunteered their time at the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah over the holiday weekend to perform dental procedures on dogs and cats. Best friends is the largest companion animal sanctuary in the nation, with about 1,700 animals.


While everyone else was relaxing, they were doing their job. For Free. How amazing is that?

This was the second visit to Best Friends by a group of veterinarians led by board-certified veterinary dental specialist Dr. Brook A. Niemiec, DVM of Southern California Veterinary Dental Specialties & Oral Surgery. During their visit, the team extracted 326 teeth, performed 24 root canals as well as a partial mandibulectomy and 2 dentigerous cyst removals on the 51 animals they treated.

“Our mission is to help Best Friends by reducing the number of animals on their dental needs list,” Dr. Brook A. Niemiec said.


“In this season of thankfulness and giving, we want to express our sincere appreciation to Dr. Neimeic and the group of dental experts that provided state-of-the-art dental care to the Best Friend’s residents in need of it,” Dr. Susan Konecny, Best Friends Animal Society’s medical director said. “Often animals arriving at the sanctuary have had no previous dental care and as a result have significant oral problems.

Niemiec said oral disease is the number one health problem in dogs and cats, “but unfortunately they don’t show obvious outward signs, however, it is often a serious issue by the time it is detected. Dental problems can also hamper a homeless pet’s ability to get adopted.

“So if a family wants to take a dog home that is in the sanctuary and he may be really cute but has a big dental bill in his future, they may take the dog next to him,” Niemiec explains.

“With the highly specialized procedures, technical expertise and equipment that were offered, this group of specialty veterinarians improved the quality of life for these patients, making them more adoptable and helping to educate our veterinary team on the newest procedures available in dentistry,” Konecny said.

And the vets, well they get something out of it too – the feeling of doing something good for an animal in need. For Dr. Katie Kangas, that’s the best Thanksgiving anyone could ask for.

Dr. Katie Kangas
Dr. Katie Kangas

Dr. Katie Kangas, DVM, CVA of Integrative Veterinary Services, said “We came here to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary on our holiday weekend, which is an incredibly special way to spend Thanksgiving, to volunteer our time and work with the animals. We feel privileged to be able to make a difference, to make them happier and healthier and more comfortable, and hopefully more adoptable.”


This visit, two European veterinarians joined the team. Dr. Rachel Perry of the United Kingdom and Dr. Camilla Heinze from Denmark who practices in Sweden, are being mentored by Niemiec to gain greater skill in animal dentistry. They said they were excited to be part of this visit to Best Friends to help the sanctuary animals.

Dr. Rober Fuman and Kelly Brody with Wiggles. Image source: Best Friends
Dr. Rober Fuman and Kelly Brody with Wiggles. Image source: Best Friends

In addition to helping the dogs and cats at Best Friends’ sanctuary, as well as local shelter animals in southern California, Southern California Veterinary Dental Specialties & Oral Surgery has started a “Pet’s Tooth Fairy Fund”® to help pets whose owners cannot afford advanced dental treatment. For more information, please contact

Watch the video of their visit here:

A special thanks to the entire team who donated their holiday to homeless pets in need:

  • Brook A. Niemiec, DVM
  • Robert Furman, BVMS, MRCVS
  • Amy Rossi, DVM
  • Camilla Heinze DVM, RDH
  • Rachel Perry, BSc, BVM&S, MANZCVS (Small Animal Dentistry & Oral Surgery), MRCVS, RCVS Advanced Practitioner, Veterinary Dentistry
  • Kelly Brody, RVT
  • Katie Kangas DVM, CVA

It’s not too late for you to help Best Friends this holiday season with a gift. You can donate by going to their website. Be sure to follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Do you want a healthier & happier dog? Join our email list & we'll donate 1 meal to a shelter dog in need!

Written by Kristina Lotz
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