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Holiday Edition December 2010

Dr. Michelle Courtemanche

Equine Dentistry

Frosty mornings and crisp afternoons are a sign that winter has arrived.  For all of us here at McKee-Pownall this means the start of our busy dentistry season!  We recommend that all horses have their teeth checked and floated once a year.  

 

How do I know if my horse needs dental care?

Dental issues manifest themselves in many different ways.  You may notice weight loss, dropping feed, abnormal chewing, drooling, head tilting or tossing, resistance to the bit, nasal discharge, or bad breath.  However some horses will show no signs of trouble at all!  This is why every horse should have a thorough dental exam once a year even if everything seems fine.  

 

Is Powerfloating safe for my horse?  Will the heat damage the teeth?  Will it take too much tooth off?

Power tools have revolutionized the way we care for your equine dental needs.  In the hands of a qualified individual it is safe and efficient.  Heat damage and over floating are prevented with proper training on the equipment.  Sharp enamel points are quickly and easily removed and more extensive pathologies like hooks and steps can be taken care of efficiently.  

 

Is sedation absolutely necessary?

 Sedation and a full mouth speculum are critical in allowing us to visualize the entire mouth with minimal stress and discomfort for the horse.  Following a routine float horses recover from the sedation and don't miss a single meal!  

 

Why would I pay a vet to do my horse's teeth when the equine dentist is so much cheaper?

It is important to recognize that floating teeth is a veterinary procedure and in Ontario must be performed by a licensed veterinarian or a dental technician working under the direct supervision of a veterinarian.  Equine dentists, no matter what their qualifications, that work alone are practicing veterinary medicine without a license.  Problems in the mouth can impact overall health and an understanding of medicine is important for your horse's safety and well-being. All of our doctors are trained to perform safe and effective dentistry and a few have taken extensive specialty training in the area.  As always you get what you pay for and with your vet you are paying for sedation, a thorough exam with a speculum, their medical training and insurance in the event anything should go wrong.

Take advantage of the off season to take care of your horse's dental care.  Every horse deserves a healthy, comfortable mouth!

 

For more information Dr. Courtemanche will be hosting a Webinar January 20, 2011 at 6:30 pm

Introduction and Benefits of Equine Dentistry