2021 Foundation President’s Special Award

Nov 10, 2021 | News

Interview with Dr. Peter Emily, DDS, Hon. Dipl AVDC, AVD
2021 Foundation President’s Special Award Recipient

Dr. Peter Emily, founder of the Peter Emily International Veterinary Dental Foundation (PEIVDF) is an accomplished human and veterinary dentist with a career spanning over 50 years. He received his Doctor of Dental Surgery at Creighton University, Omaha Nebraska and his Certificate of Periodontology from the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Emily later went on to receive his post-graduate certification in Pediatric Dentistry, Endodontics, Oral Surgery and Restorative/Prosthetic Dentistry from the Dental Division of Denver General Hospital.

The Peter Emily International Veterinary Dental Foundation (PEIVDF) was founded in 2005 as a private charitable foundation whose mission is to provide life improving advanced veterinary dental care and treatment to exotic animals located in US- captive animal facilities and animal sanctuaries. Dr. Emily donated the initial funds which formed the private foundation in order to continue his life’s work and dedication.

When sitting down with Dr. Emily, I asked him to share thoughts about the many years he has dedicated to the oral health of exotic animals.

“So many trips and so many animals and so many accomplishments to reflect on. There were many memorable people I (Dr. Emily) interviewed and worked with; so many wonderful animals, such as rhinos, elephants and hippopotamus.  One animal in particular stands out, Kono a silver back gorilla.  Kono was such a gentle creature; he had such big hands that when I placed mine in his, my hand looked like a child’s.

A challenging experience was one of performing a retrograde procedure on a polar bear who woke up during anesthesia.  Notably, they are the most challenging to place and keep under anesthesia.  That was probably the most challenging of all the treatment and all the animals I performed procedures on.

We are just scratching the surface with treating these animals.  There are probably 10-15,000 animals loaded with dental problems; so many to care for and unfortunately not enough finances to treat them.  Important to the goal is the sustainability of the Foundation to continue my life’s work.

I am grateful for the many wonderful volunteers who have helped with all the missions; I am especially grateful to Dr’s. Eisner, Holmstrom and Sitzman who have been with me since inception of the Foundation and its missions.”