Does a horse dentist need to sedate?
It is an absolute honor to be able to work with horses. Any rider or groom will attest to just how majestic, noble and patient they can be. However….. They aren’t always 100% happy to have their manes clipped, feet shod, worming done or ears played with. Teeth are no exception.
Normally I don’t need sedation for horses. Being a horse dentist I neither carry, own nor administer any form of sedation. That is why we have the awesome horse calmer called the Vet 🙂 There are times when there really is no smart option other than to ask a vet to sedate. I find that I need a vets service around once a month, if I am working on a particularly excitable breed it may be twice a month.
Generally speaking horses will tolerate just about anything if you ask them nicely. If doesn’t hurt to treat them with compassion and respect. I don’t go into a stable expecting a fight or wanting one, I don’t believe I give off any bad vibes and the horses I have been fortunate enough to work on reciprocate in kind. I know there are dentists out there that sedate just about every horse they work on. If the owner is happy with the extra costs and the risks to the horse then thats great. This is no slur on their names. I have many times wondered if I should not just do the same. however it is just not practical as the owner must now pay for a vet to attend and the poor vet has to sit on his or her laurels most of the day when they could be off working on horses that actually need their help a lot more than the horse dentist.
The reason I don’t just have everyone sedated (yes it would be MUCH easier for me) is that I don’t believe its great for the horses body. If you go to your dentist and ask him to knock you out for a filling he will refuse on the grounds that there are risks involved and the risk is not worth the mild discomfort you will feel. I treat horses with the same ethos. Is it correct? No idea. Should I rather sedate and save myself and the horses potential stress and injury? Possibly. However after 11 years I feel like I have a basic understanding of horses and can “usually” get a feel off a horse pretty fast.
If you have any questions feel free to ask.