Meet the NorthStar VETS Team: Kirk Herrmann, DVM (Practice Limited to Dentistry and Oral Surgery)

Kirk Herrmann, DVM is a doctor in the Dentistry and Oral Surgery service at NorthStar VETS. In this video, he talks about what drew him to veterinary dentistry, the importance of oral health, and the type of case that has the greatest impact for him.

How Dr. Herrmann got into Veterinary Medicine
We caught up with Dr. Herrmann, who was checking on a patient before heading to a procedure, where he told us about the kind of work he does. “Primarily, I work on dental cases such as extractions, root canals associated with fractures, and things like that, but I also do maxillofacial surgery, including oral tumors and jaw fractures. I repair those and get those animals back to working order.”

“The reason I wanted to get into veterinary medicine is because I was surrounded by animals as a child. We had horses, dogs, cats, pot-bellied pigs and everything under the sun. To me, there was no other profession I wanted to do! As far as becoming a veterinary dentist, that came later in life. I realized I liked surgical things where I could fix problems, and I also knew that I liked to be focused. Veterinary dentistry and oral surgery allows me to focus on a particular area of the body. What I love about being a veterinary dentist is that every day I come in to something that is new. No two mouths are the same, no two issues are the same, and I love seeing pets come back two weeks later after relatively extensive oral surgery and doing fantastic.”

“I went to veterinary school at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine. From there, I did a rotating internship at the Specialty Center of Delaware, and I did my residency under the mentorship of Drs. Mark Smith and Kendall Taney at the Center for Veterinary Dentistry and Surgery in Gaithersburg, Maryland.”

The importance of veterinary dentistry
“Sometimes we don’t know there’s a problem until it’s too late. Part of how we deal with that is being proactive. That means home care, yearly dental cleanings under anesthesia, and also diets including what is good and bad to chew on because a lot of the things that I see are preventable. Sometimes these fractured teeth and severe periodontal disease are things we could nip in the bud earlier with appropriate home care and regular dental cleanings.”

“Dental health is something that for a period of time in veterinary medicine, and even sometimes in human medicine, is overlooked. We have to understand that everything that happens in the mouth whether that’s inflammation of infection affects the rest of the body. Not only that, but it’s something that gives a patient general malaise, makes them tired, and other nondescript symptoms. Oral health is important to them for managing other aspects of their disease, and if they have oral health problems, it’s often exacerbating pre-existing conditions or causing that general malaise or lethargy that you don’t realize is a problem for your pet until we fix it.”

The type of case that has the greatest impact on Dr. Herrmann
“A case that comes to mind that really impacted me was more about the client patient relationship where a young dog was suffering from a lot of oral pain. The client was a very diligent person and a wonderful caretaker. When she identified this problem, she came to us and we unfortunately gave a diagnosis of a chronic ulcerative disorder in the pet’s mouth which often requires extensive extractions. It was a bit of a blindside to that client and even for us because it was kind of on the fence. When I tell someone a diagnosis that’s poor, but I’m able to fix it, having that positive outcome in the end and that relationship that we’ve built up with the client over time is worth it. When the client initially doesn’t see the problem, but in the end is very happy with their decision, that is always impactful to me.”

Learn more about the Dentistry and Oral Surgery service at NorthStar VETS.

Kirk Herrmann, DVM (Practice Limited to Dentistry and Oral Surgery)
Dr. Herrmann is a Bucks County native who obtained his degree in Animal Science from Delaware Valley University. He then moved south where he pursued his childhood dream at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine. There, he obtained his doctorate. He continued his education with a rotating internship at The Veterinary Specialty Center of Delaware and a 3-year residency at the Center for Veterinary Dentistry and Oral Surgery in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

Dr. Herrmann has a strong interest in providing healthy and functional mouths for our pets through surgery, interceptive procedures and client education. In his spare time he enjoys the outdoors, gardening, cooking and relaxing with his large extended family.

This entry was posted in Pets, Veterinary Medicine and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *