“Dental equilibration is an important part of maintaining a healthy horse” Dr. Chris Bell, DVM
Our veterinarians at Elder's Equine provide equine dental care to all ages of horse. This can include teeth floating, power dentistry and general tooth health.
It is important to understand the way the horse's mouth functions in order to properly diagnose and treat issues of the teeth and mouth in the horse. Veterinarians are uniquely qualified to perform these activities and we help to ensure that any issues are properly addressed and look to optimize your horse's health.
As veterinarian's we use sedatives to help relax the horse to minimize stress and decrease strain on the TMJ joints during the procedures. Procedures performed without sedatives can cause undue stress on the horse despite the best efforts of the lay dentists that attempt to perform dental tasks. Sedatives should only be administered by a veterinarian as there are risks to the heart and brain if sedatives are incorrectly administered, incorrectly dosed or improperly used which lay dentists are not licensed or trained to detect or perform. At the end of the day, we want to ensure that your horse is treated humanely and in a minimal stress environment while performing any medical care be it dentistry or surgery.
Tooth extractions and advanced dental corrective techniques can be performed at the clinic facility on a case-by-case basis. Tooth extractions are a surgical procedure that comes with the need for sedative and anesthetic protocols as well as the use of xrays and surgical equipment to properly perform these removals. Extractions should never be performed by layperson dentists and if you have concern with your horse or their teeth, feel free to give us a call.
Equine dentistry is a veterinary procedure and should be performed under the care of a veterinarian. Call us today to set your appointment 204-864-2888
A Cautionary Tale
More isn’t always better
We have been hearing about more and more folks calling themselves equine dentists or gnathologists or odontologist etc as well as other ‘practitioners’ of various forms of veterinary medicine who are not actually trained in any form of veterinary medicine that are asking you to trust them to perform procedures on your horses. They will charge you the same or slightly less than it would cost to take your horse to a veterinarian and there are claims like “vets aren’t trained’, ‘vets don’t know how to do teeth’, vets don’t take enough tooth off’ etc.
Our job is to provide our clients and their horses with the best quality of safe and effective care – whether that is a complex surgery, vaccination, orthopedic lameness exam or floating their teeth. As a horse owner, you don’t want to put your horse in harms way and wouldn’t intentionally do so, but the claims and guarantees of a job done better than the vet and cheaper can be persuasive.
For our part, we are trained to perform sedation (with knowledge of contraindications, antidotes and dealing with complications), we are trained as equine veterinarians with additional years of experience beyond our core veterinary school training, to perform dental floating/equilibration, wolf tooth removal, molar removal, complete a dental and cranial exam, dealing with diastema’s, wave mouth, overbites/underbites, hooks and ramps and more complicated dental diseases such as tumors, sinusitis, fistulas etc. We are trained to do these things and we are also trained to recognize our limits and refer you and your horse to those that have even more training such as specialists (actual specialists) in equine dentistry and surgery.
A cautionary tale lay in these xrays below. This is a horse that was visited by an ‘equine dentist’ who ‘does a better job and takes off more than the vets will’. Unfortunately, more isn’t always better. The xrays show this horse’s teeth were mechanically ground down to the point that the molars did not meet properly, the canines were filed flat to the gum line exposing the root to rampant infection of her jaw, a molar has been pull from the upper jaw without proper technique exposing the sinuses to infection and feed material being packing into the skull cavity, the incisors had been filed aggressively and could no long meet properly for her to grasp feed. The horse had a heart murmur (which the ‘equine dentist’ did not detect or know how to detect) yet the horse was sedated with a medication that should not be in the hands of anyone but a veterinarian for this reason.
The horse died despite efforts to try and correct the problems. The horse wasted away in such a short period of time due to the procedures endured at the hands of someone who proclaimed to know what they were doing and that they can be trusted with your horses.
Surely there are some folks out there that have managed to achieve some training in equine dentistry, but I cannot figure out which ones are which, can you? A human dentist goes to school for at least 6 years (not weeks or days) at a university level setting and must attain high grades and competencies just as veterinarians do to be properly trained to safely perform medical procedures on our patients. No one is perfect, but we need to at least be competent. Filing a horse’s teeth doesn’t look like it would be a difficult thing to do, until it is and there are serious consequences.
X-RAY IMAGES OF DENTAL FLOATS DONE BY NON VETERINARIAN