Performance Equine Dentistry

Oct 13, 2014
Preventative/Preparedness dentistry

Equine Dentistry is a critical part of the comprehensive plan for the health and maximal performance, and comfort of your horse. The Veterinarians at Meddleton Equine, Inc. are all trained in Performance Horse Dentistry with full mouth balancing and alignment.

After the examination of thousands of horses’ mouths it becomes obvious that there is no way to thoroughly evaluate all dental abnormalities and adequately address each of them without sedation and a full mouth speculum. This method relaxes the horse and allows for thorough examination, evaluation and comfortable treatment of dental abnormalities.

The use of power tools for dentistry enables rapid and thorough treatment of dental abnormalities that would often otherwise be impossible. We use the PowerFloat, a full line of hand floats, and a wide array of other dental equipment to enable us to provide optimal dental care including correction of dental malocclusions (wave mouths, step mouth, etc.), tooth extraction, and composite restorations (fillings).

By routinely checking thousands of horses’ mouths, we have found that, even after extensive dental work, horses routinely start to develop sharp points long enough and sharp enough to cause the horse to bite its cheeks and cause oral lacerations and ulcerations within 10-14 months after the dental float. Because of this, it is ideal to float horse’s teeth at least yearly.

Young horses should be examined starting as weanlings and every year thereafter in order to address developmental abnormalities. Horses should routinely be floated starting as 2-3 year olds. Floating before bitting the horse is ideal because the teeth of young horses tend to be extremely sharp and putting a bit in the horse’s mouth will press the cheeks up against these razor sharp edges. This will make the youngsters first experience with a bit very unpleasant!

We recommend great caution when dealing with a so called “equine dentist”. These people are more often than not charlatans who at best do a poor and incomplete job, and at worst can cause permanent damage to your horse’s teeth. Despite the term “Equine Dentist” they are in no way equivalent to a human Dentist. A Dentist is a trained professional with a doctorate. Most “equine dentists” learned from another “equine dentist” or will have gone to a short course taught by other “equine dentists”. It is illegal for them to work on your horses, they have no training in the use of tranquilizers (a significant safety risk to your horse), and have no accountability to you for the safety and welfare of your horse.

Dr. Mark Meddleton, DVM

Written by Mark Meddleton, DVM

Dr. Meddleton is a 1991 graduate of Cornell University and completed a Medical & Surgical Internship at the University of Minnesota. He is a member of the American Veterinary Chiropractic Assoc., has been performing Chiropractic since 1994, and has extensively studied Equine Dentistry. He spent 4 years in a large performance horse practice in the Albany/Saratoga region of NY and moved to NM in 1996.