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Alumni Profile

Straight from the horse's mouth

coffman

Curt Coffman owns Aid Animal Dental Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., with partner Chris Visser. Photo by David Tevis

Although the American Veterinary Medical Association represents more than 76,000 veterinarians world-wide, veterinarian Curt Coffman finds himself in the professional company of fewer than a hundred of them.

Coffman, DVM ’93, is one of just 95 board-certified veterinary dentists.

After graduating from MU, Coffman started his career in a general practice in Tempe, Ariz. “None of the other veterinarians were interested in performing dentistry, and I found there was a real need,” Coffman says. “I felt like when dogs and cats came to our practice and they needed dental care, we weren’t very good at diagnosing their problem and then treating it. I guess that drove me to learn more.”

And learn more he did. It took five years for Coffman to become certified in the specialty. He now works at Aid Animal Dental Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., where he sees patients referred from Arizona and the surrounding states.

Much like a human dentist, Coffman cleans teeth, performs root canals, restores or extracts teeth, and repairs jaw fractures. Unlike a human dentist, Coffman’s clientele range from cats and dogs to lions, tigers and bears. As volunteers at the Phoenix Zoo, Coffman and his partner sometimes provide advanced dental care to the zoo animals.

“We’ve worked on a jaguar, a tiger, a lot of the cheetahs, the bear, some of the wolves and even the sea otter. The sea otter was having some trouble cracking his clams, Coffman says. “And we actually did a root canal on his little molar.”

— Sarah Garber