Who should care for your horse’s teeth?
Our Tough Question this month focuses on the debate of who can provide the best dental care for your horse: veterinarian or equine dentist.
Those in favour of the equine dentist argue that most equine veterinarians don’t have a specialized knowledge of equine dentistry. An equine dentist, on the other hand, practices only dentistry, and advocates believe the equine dentist to have more in depth expertise with regard to the horse’s mouth.
One criticism of veterinary schools made by equine dentist supporters is that not enough time is spent teaching veterinarians about general animal dentistry, let alone equine dentistry.
Traditionally, this may have been the case, but more and more equine veterinarians are beginning to receive specialized training in equine dentistry.
Laws and regulations governing veterinary dentistry vary provincially, however, the general consensus of Canadian veterinarians is that equine dentists are not qualified to provide your horse with dental care.
According to the College of Veterinarians of British Columbia, equine dentists are “not sanctioned, governed, or trained by any statutory, regulatory organization in British Columbia, Canada, or the USA.”
If problems arise, an unlicensed, unregulated equine dentist may not be able to provide follow-up care if necessary.
Making adjustments to a horse’s teeth humanely also requires the administering of sedative drugs, which only a licensed, registered veterinarian is legally able to do.
In your opinion, who should care for your horse’s teeth: a veterinarian or an equine dentist?
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