Equine Dentists.... - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 21 Old 09-03-2011, 10:52 AM Thread Starter
Green Broke
 
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Equine Dentists....

We've always had the vet do our horses' teeth - growing up there wasn't any choice as there weren't any equine dentists in our area and so that was just the "norm" for me when we got back into horses out here where we live now.
The last time we were at the tack shop, though, I noticed several cards for equine dentists on the bulletin board and now I'm starting to think.....
One question I have, though, is is an equine dentist able/allowed to use sedation like a vet can for floating? I guess I am not sure what the certification/authorization level is for an equine dentist. Anyone?
Which do you use - vet or dentist? Why have you made that choice?
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post #2 of 21 Old 09-03-2011, 11:03 AM
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I have used two different dentists now and they both used sedation. I have never had a vet out so a dentist was just an easier choice.
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post #3 of 21 Old 09-03-2011, 11:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by themacpack View Post
We've always had the vet do our horses' teeth - growing up there wasn't any choice as there weren't any equine dentists in our area and so that was just the "norm" for me when we got back into horses out here where we live now.
The last time we were at the tack shop, though, I noticed several cards for equine dentists on the bulletin board and now I'm starting to think.....
One question I have, though, is is an equine dentist able/allowed to use sedation like a vet can for floating? I guess I am not sure what the certification/authorization level is for an equine dentist. Anyone?
Which do you use - vet or dentist? Why have you made that choice?
It is illegal in the United States for anyone except a licensed veterinarian or the horse owner to sedate a horse. Many State vet boards are challenging the practice of lay dentists as illegal, regardless sedation. The vets have the advantage as their lobbying interests served to influence and create the laws.

That said, a lot of equine lay dentists and farriers utilize sedation. For some, it comes down to weighing a safe, earned living against the potential consequences of an ill-conceived law.

That said, a lay dentist will typically have far more experience floating teeth than a vet.

Cheers,
Mark
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post #4 of 21 Old 09-03-2011, 11:13 PM
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^ But no regulations or standards in training or licensing. That, coupled with the whole "against the law" aspect, is enough to make me shy away from any equine dentist.

Before I knew better, I used a self-taught, highly-recommended equine dentist. He did an OK job, but also missed a lot. And also very nearly killed a pony at the same boarding barn through faulty administration of sedation. Some other boarders used a different, "natural" dentist. He "sedated" the horses by--wait for it--chewing herbs and mints and blowing the fragrance in the horses' nostrils. He was also terrible at floating teeth.

Mark has a point that a lot of vets really aren't all that qualified to float, either, so look for one that is! The use of hydraulic equipment is generally a good sign. I'm fortunate enough to have a local veterinarian who has made dental work his specialty and only practice.
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post #5 of 21 Old 09-04-2011, 12:25 AM
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I was lucky enough to use this guy once. He is kept busy, and I've never been able to arrange a second visit. Wish I could! Equine dentist, not a vet. And part magician!













No sedation. No one holding the horse. To check the three horses we had then, he just played with their lips a moment, then slid his hand in and felt their teeth. And even Trooper, who at that time had serious trust issues with any humans, just stood there and said, "Ahhhhhhh"!

It was incredible.

Just an added note: Both the mares in the pictures are Arabians...not noted for just hanging out and having a person stick a file into their mouths. But they did for him! Mia was finished before I took the pictures, and I'd swear she wanted him to work on her mouth again...

Last edited by bsms; 09-04-2011 at 12:29 AM.
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post #6 of 21 Old 09-04-2011, 12:32 AM
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I also ought to add that a vet had been out earlier, and wouldn't even try to sedate Mia without a press to hold her! That was because Mia was too excitable and couldn't be controlled long enough to be sedated, let alone have her teeth work on.

Magic. The guy probably got his degree at Hogwarts.

http://www.ritebiteeqd.com/index.html

Last edited by bsms; 09-04-2011 at 12:36 AM.
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post #7 of 21 Old 09-04-2011, 12:49 AM
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While you may or may not have known it, you were helping the dentist do his "magic" when you took those photos.

Thanks for sharing. Great pictures!

Cheers,
Mark
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post #8 of 21 Old 09-04-2011, 01:03 AM
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I have never had a vet do my horses teeth, and I have never had a need to sedate a horse either.

My equine dentist is incredible, he does the entire process without the device to hold open the mouth, and without sedation. Last time he did Lucas, my trainers horses were also done, so there was not a free stall, he did Lucas in the field just being held in a halter.

Love the no drama teeth floating.
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post #9 of 21 Old 09-04-2011, 03:25 AM
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The thing is....how do you know you're getting a good job?

If your vet/dentist doesn't use a speculum and light, how can he see all the way back to the far molars? You certainly can't feel that far. The "old school" method of floating was occasionally chasing the horse backwards, using its tongue as a handle, and filing away at any sharp hooks that may appear. And that missed a lot of things--I've ever heard (verified) stories of a missing tooth way in the back, which allowed the opposing jaw's tooth to grow so long that it pierced the skin, severed an artery, and killed the horse in a minute's time. Or how do you see, address, and fix issues like wave mouth without the extremely detailed examination that only a speculum can allow? You can't very well reach back and feel those hind teeth...
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post #10 of 21 Old 09-04-2011, 03:36 AM
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here in california, a Eq dentist has to have a vet present at EVERY job. Which is ridiculous... because you're essentially paying for the "dentist" and the vet he hires to work with him. So instead, I just pay the vet. She sedates EVERY horse, mainly for her safety as well as the safety of the animal, and is able to do an amazing job.

Life seems mighty precious, when there's less of it to waste.
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