Floater or Dentist?

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Floater or Dentist?

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    12-04-2012, 12:09 AM
Question Floater or Dentist?

So I'm having trouble making a decision here and I could use some outside opinions...

My new boarding facility has a dentist named Dave that comes out twice a year to work on all of the horses. Last time he was out, I had him take a look at Riley's teeth to see what shape they were in. Normal wear and tear, the fronts are a little crooked, but nothing too serious. He quoted me about $165 for everything, including anesthesia, but the farm call could be more depending on how many clients he has in the area on the day of the appointment.

Option two is a local guy named Richard who has been floating teeth for 39 years. He used to do the rodeo circuit and that is where he picked up the skill. He is friends with my vet and whenever one of my vet's clients needs their horse's teeth worked on, he recommends this guy. He charges a flat rate of $50, no anesthesia, no farm call. I've seen him work before, he floated my friend Jenn's horse's teeth in October. Nice guy.

So the question is, do I go with Dave who has all the tools and drugs and special training who told me that having my horse's teeth floated is a waste of money? Or do I go with Richard, who has been floating teeth for almost 40 years? I do everything I can for my horse. Whatever I can, whenever I can. However, if I could save myself $115 and put it to better use somewhere else, I'd rather do that.

So what is the better way to go? Do dentists really do a better job? Is a float a waste of money? Or should I just trust my vet and go with the floater?
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    12-04-2012, 01:19 AM
The first question is dose you horse need to be tranquilized?? If you are not sure which person to use you could use the floater and ever other time use a dentists
    12-04-2012, 01:47 AM
I don't think he does, he was fine when the dentist was just checking him. He even let him put that metal spreader contraption in his mouth. I was thinking maybe have them floated for now, then have the dentist work on him this summer.
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    12-04-2012, 01:57 AM
Floating teeth isn't a waste of money. At all! Can turn a rank horse around right now. If they truelly need floating. Which is usually pretty obvious. Id suggest the guy who does it by hand, it's a lost art. But I don't know if he any good. Bad floats can make rank horses.
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    12-04-2012, 01:58 AM
    12-04-2012, 02:19 AM
Just keep in mind that it is illegal in some states for a non-veterinarian (DVM) to do dental work on horses. If that is the case in your state, then both options are illegal. Many people are unaware of this, and many don't really care either. But it is something to be aware of.
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    12-04-2012, 06:35 AM
Green Broke
Originally Posted by Tophandcowgirl    
Just keep in mind that it is illegal in some states for a non-veterinarian (DVM) to do dental work on horses. If that is the case in your state, then both options are illegal. Many people are unaware of this, and many don't really care either. But it is something to be aware of.
Yes this! I just found out that is the case here in Minnesota. And I see so many dentists practicing. I have my vet do it anyway though.
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    12-04-2012, 07:15 AM
Good to know! Thanks for bringing that up!

I just looked up the laws regarding equine dentistry in Michigan and it says that it is illegal for an individual to use controlled substances as sedatives on horses if they are not a licensed DVM. I know for a fact that Dave the "dentist" is not a DVM and he uses sedatives. STRONG ones, too. One of the other boarder's at my barn has a mare named Misty who is a 24/7 pistol and she was zoned out for an hour and a half after what he gave her.

The document that I found also says that equine dentistry can be performed by an unlicensed individual under the delegation of a licensed veterinarian... So that means that Richard, the guy who only does floats without using any anesthesia, who is referred to clients by a licensed veterinarian, is probably the one I should go with. I'll call my vet tomorrow and double check that info, too. I'm not sure if Dave is working with a vet or not, but his brochure doesn't say anything about it.

I have asked my friend Jenn about how her horses are doing after their floats and she said they are doing great. Her gelding, who was dropping grain every feeding, is now actually putting on weight and not missing a morsel. One of her mares is less head shy and better with the bit, too. All signs of a good float, right?

I wouldn't hire just anyone to do this, I do my homework. Trust me, I am always careful and right there anytime another person needs to do anything to my horse. Plus, I don't want to take any chances with the law.
    12-04-2012, 08:05 AM
Green Broke
Yes, if your vet recommends the guy I would go with him. It is legal for him to practice if he is contracted by the vet in a way. My farrier told me all about this when I asked if he knew the dentist that was coming out to our barn this week. I chose not to have this "dentist" work on my horse because of this information. If it is illegal for them to practice I question their ability and their ethics.

I also wouldn't feel comfortable having someone other than a vet administer sedatives.
    12-04-2012, 11:59 AM
I used both - vet (2 in fact) and dentist (recommended to me by my trainer). Both vets did a good job, dentist did a good job and was very gentle with the horses, so frankly I liked him better (and I use him every since). Unfortunately one of my horses need sedation, so I have to arrange shots/coggins (vet visit) together with dentist.

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