A long-serving vet nurse in the West Midlands is celebrating after becoming one of the first in the UK to gain a new pet dentistry qualification.
Two years ago, her drive to deliver the best possible care for her patients saw her enrol on the first dentistry course in the country for vet nurses to add yet more skills to her expertise and experience.
Liz, who is Blacks’ head of nursing at its Lye practice, explained: “The NCert in Dentistry is for professional vet nurses and was introduced in 2019, when I was one of the first nine pupils to begin the course.
“To successfully complete it is a big achievement for me, as I really enjoy dentistry and have a passion for helping treat animals and making them better.”
Liz says there are a lot of similarities with human dentistry, although the wide variety of animal species means there’s so much more to know and understand.
She said: “At Blacks, we check animals’ teeth in just the same way as a dentist does with human patients but the major difference is each animal species has a different number of teeth, for example an adult dog has 42, while an adult cat has just 30.
“Communication is much better with humans, too, as you can tell them to open wide and keep still but with animals it is much harder because they don’t understand and often fear the worst.
“That’s why we anaesthetise all our pets ahead of dental procedures or surgery.”
Liz emphasised the point by revealing the wide range of patients she has had to treat while working at Blacks.
She said: “The largest pet I have ever dealt with is a huge Irish Wolfhound and the smallest is a budgie. Obviously, budgies don’t have teeth but we do have to occasionally clip their beaks to enable them to eat more easily.”
So, has Liz ever suffered for her profession and been bitten or pecked while treating one of her patients?
“Fortunately not, although I have had the occasional warning but never a bite where the skin was broken.”
Liz is clearly living her dream and is delighted to have found a career she could really get her teeth into.
She smiled: “From a very young age, I always wanted to work in the veterinary sector because I wanted to educate owners and help care for animals, so I’ve been very fortunate.
“I started with Blacks Vets in 1996 and it was the owner at the time, Mr Black himself, who interviewed me. I’ve never looked back since.
“I have always had this passion for animals and learning about them in great deal so this has been an ideal career for me.
“I believe being passionate about the job makes you a good nurse and binds you to your practice and to your clients and my promise to our clients has been the same for 25 years.
“I tell them ‘I will always treat your pet as if it was my own’ and knowing I have helped to make those animals feel better and more comfortable gives me so much job satisfaction.”
A quarter of a century’s dedication to animal care has helped make Liz something of a local celebrity and she recently featured in an article published in Dental Nursing Magazine.
Blacks Vets, which has twice been voted Best UK Vet, offers annual pet health club memberships for both dogs and cats, which covers treatments such as routine health checks, vaccinations, nail clipping and microchipping.
To read Liz’s interview with Dental Nursing Magazine, visit