Our team of world-renowned veterinary experts is at the heart of everything we do at VESPECON, and we want veterinarians who use our services to have the opportunity to get to know these specialists better. Today, we’re introducing Dr. Jan Bellows, DVM, a diplomate of the American Veterinary Dental College (DAVDC) and the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (DABVP) in canine and feline specialties.

We recruited Dr. Bellows for his vast dental knowledge and skill, but his dual ABVP specialty credentials as a canine and feline practitioner are a bonus. Dr. Bellows is heavily involved in the veterinary dental world, and is the current Foundation for Veterinary Dentistry president. The foundation promotes dental care to veterinary clients, advances dental research, and aims to support and expand veterinary student dentistry education to better prepare new graduates for real-world cases. Dr. Bellows also previously held an AVDC leadership role.

To better get to know Dr. Bellows, we looked closely at his chosen specialty, his life, interests, and career path, as well as his day-to-day activities. Here is an overview of the veterinary dentistry specialty.

Veterinary dentistry: A day in the life

Veterinary dentists are experts in oral pathology for dogs and cats, wildlife, large animals, zoo animals and, in Dr. Bellows’ case, non-human primates. We know that dental pain is pervasive and a significant contributor to pets’ decreased quality of life, and a veterinary dentist’s goal is reducing this pain while maximizing function. Advanced veterinary dentistry goes far beyond the standard treatment of tooth extraction and offers opportunities to save damaged or diseased teeth, and prevent future tooth loss for working, aesthetic, or pain-control purposes. 

Veterinary dentists consult with patients, clients, and primary veterinarians, interpret dental imaging, and perform dental procedures. Some veterinary dentists are also involved in research, academia, teaching, product development, industry, or leading dentistry and general veterinary organizations, including the AVDC. 

In clinical practice, veterinary dentists may perform, order, or interpret the following:

  • Dental examinations
  • Difficult or extensive dental extractions
  • Root canal therapy
  • Periodontal therapy
  • Veterinary orthodontics
  • Intraoral X-rays
  • Oral CT scans
  • Injury and fracture repair
  • Oral mass and cyst removal

What conditions can a veterinary dentist treat?

Veterinary dentists are experts in various intraoral pathologies and can offer their clients more advanced therapies than their primary veterinarian. Possible conditions a veterinary dentist may treat or consult about include:

  • Advanced periodontal disease
  • Tooth fractures and abscesses
  • Malocclusion
  • Stomatitis
  • Odontogenic cysts
  • Oral tumors
  • Oral trauma and jaw fractures

Dr. Jan Bellows: Q & A

We asked Dr. Bellows a few questions to learn more about his veterinary career, personal life, and what makes him tick.

Question: Where did you complete your veterinary education?
Answer: Auburn University School of Veterinary Medicine for veterinary school, and The Animal Medical Center in New York for a rotating medicine and surgery internship


Q: Where are you from, and where do you currently live?
A: Weston, Florida


Q: What do you most enjoy about veterinary dentistry?
A: I most enjoy having the ability to end dog and cat pain in one sitting.


Q: What has been your most fulfilling or interesting specialty case?
A: Working on a gorilla at Disney was fulfilling and interesting.


Q: How did you come to work with VESPECON?
A: I learned about VESPECON while connecting with colleagues and fellow specialists at the Heartland Veterinary Conference.


Q: Tell us about your two- and four-legged family members.
A: I have three children, a great wife, and a four-legged German shorthaired pointer, who is my running buddy.


Q: What do you like to do in your spare time?
A: I stay active running and swimming.


Q: Do you have any interesting hobbies or special talents?
A: I run marathons!


Q: What is the most interesting place where you have traveled?
A: Aspen, Colorado

VESPECON offers practicing veterinarians the opportunity to consult with a broad range of specialists who are available at their fingertips through our virtual platform. Contact us for the opportunity to consult with Dr. Bellows on your most challenging dentistry cases, to meet the rest of our team, or to learn more about our virtual veterinary consulting and specialty coordination services. Or, visit our website, sign up, and get started.