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How true is this about dentists/vets?

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  • How true is this about dentists/vets?

    Local vet put this on facebook. Is it true in PA dentists cannot practice? And the vet says that "anyone" putting a painkiller etc in a horse is in violation of the law? Does this mean if a horse needs banamine or penicillen we need to call the vet out each time? Or is this vet blowing smoke?

    "(From Webster) "dentist": a person licensed in the care and treatment of teeth. "Lay person": NOT of a particular profession; also: lacking extensive knowledge of a particular subject. Therefore, there is no such thing as a "lay-dentist"! Anyone besides a licensed veterinarian who works on teeth without being under direct supervision of a vet is in violation of the practice code in Pennsylvania. And ANYONE who sticks a needle in your horse for any reason (sedatives, vaccines, painkillers) is doing it illegally; this is called 'practicing medicine without a license'. Be forewarned, many people claiming to be "equine dentists" are sedating and using power tools on horses in violation of the law. Many of these lay people are actually damaging teeth by over-aggressively floating them."
    Maria Hayes-Frosty Oak Stables
    Home to All Eyez On Me, 1998 16.2 Cleveland Bay Sporthorse Stallion
    & FrostyOak Hampton 2008 Pure Cleveland Bay Colt

  • #2
    I'm no expert, but from what I understand equine dentists are not supposed to work alone in Indiana, either. But mine does, for me anyway. Because my vet is terrible at teeth and he doesn't have a clue - and he really resents that I use a dentist because that's money out of his pocket. He is supposed to work "with" a vet, but in my area, there are very few vets willing to give up that part of their business.

    As for violating the law? I don't know.


    • #3
      Owners are allowed to stick their horses with legally acquired drugs.

      For the dental issue:
      The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


      • #4
        My personal opinion is I don't care what is "allowable", I want a vet doing the float, with drugs and power equipment. I want the device that holds the mouth open and I want them to be able to have a completely clear view of each tooth. To me, knocking off points and that's it isn't a float and it seems that is about all that gets done by a non-vet and no drugs. How the non-vet is acquiring the drugs, I don't know. Are they prepared for a full-on emergency if there is a negative reaction to those drugs?
        "Punch him in the wiener. Then leave." AffirmedHope


        • #5
          I have a non-vet dentist do my horses and he has done a more thorough job with his hand tools than my vet has done with drugs and power tools. If a horse needs to be sedated to have its teeth done, then the sedation has to be done by a veterinarian. At least here in CA.
          "A horse's face always conveys clearly whether it is loved by its owner or simply used." - Anja Beran


          • #6
            My equine dentist does a power float and it's 1000X better than the speed job any of my vets have ever done. Cindy, you must have been exposed to quack dentists - I feel truly blessed. Mine is AWESOME and he spends easily 3-4 times longer than the vets do. He does administer the drugs under another vet though, just not my vet. I'll soon be switching to his vet though.


            • #7
              Equine "dentists" should be working under the supervision of a veterinarian. Yes! That is the law in many states.

              You may administer injections to your own horse. You may float your own horse's teeth.

              Sensibly you should not administer injections to another's horse. Should that horse have a reaction, or get an infection, you would be up the proverbial creek without a paddle. Liability is tough! If you are being paid for it, it is illegal in many states.
              Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

              Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


              • #8
                My vet specializes in dentristy and as such, does a fantastic job. Her new partner did a power float - first time any of my horses have had it done - as one horse needed some real oomph work done in the back and according to her, it's just easier on the horse to get things done as quickly as possible without so much "sawing" back and forth with the hand tools. She is uber-careful about not allowing teeth to heat up, which is the major problem with power floating.

                I know many think vets can't do a good job on teeth, but just like anything, either a person is competent at a job, or they aren't, and the "what" of who they are is not always any guarantee of a good or bad job.
                The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


                • #9
                  Hmm, where's davistina67, the self-appointed Chief of the Horse Dentist Police? She's usually all over these threads from the start!


                  • #10
                    It varies by state.

                    As for dentistry, in MA, if sedation is needed, the vet is required to administer it. Many vets actually are relieved to have equine dentists available, because routine dentistry isn't high on their list of things they want to do, and they are more than busy enough without it.

                    In my limited experience, equine dentists have done a better job than vets.
                    You have to have experiences to gain experience.

                    1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Mara View Post
                      Hmm, where's davistina67, the self-appointed Chief of the Horse Dentist Police? She's usually all over these threads from the start!
                      Uhhh I think she's been banned...
                      Boyle Heights Kid 1998 16.1h OTTB Dark Bay Gelding
                      Tinner's Way x Sculpture by Hail to Reason
                      "Once you go off track, you never go back!"


                      • #12
                        i am in PA and i have had both Dentists, and Vets do the teeth. I find many dentists do a great job, but if sedation is needed, then a vet must come out at the very same time. it is very difficult to get both vet and dentist on the same schedule. With my current horses, i do need to sedate, and fortunately, my vet likes doing dentistry, so it works out nicely.

                        as i understand it, the dentists that work in PA need to be under direction of a vet in that particular area. not necessarily observed by the vet at every appt, but approved or advised? something like that.


                        • #13
                          Laws vary from state to state, but AFAIK it is not kosher anywhere for a non-veterinarian to PRESCRIBE sedatives or for anyone but the OWNER or REPRESENTATIVE of the owner to administer medications to a horse and then only on a vet's direct order.

                          So although it may be OK for an equine dentist to float teeth, it is almost certainly not OK for them to give the horse anything for sedation. The owner is a different story.

                          Does the law in PA really quote from Webster's dictionary?

                          FWIW I have my vet check teeth in the spring and the barn has an equine dentist come through in the fall. If they need doing in the spring, the vet does them. (with sedation if needed) If they need doing in the fall, the dentist does them. (no sedation) The vet and the dentist are on completely friendly terms and even collaborated together to do a difficult extraction on one of my horses years ago.
                          Click here before you buy.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Mara View Post
                            Hmm, where's davistina67, the self-appointed Chief of the Horse Dentist Police? She's usually all over these threads from the start!
                            I think she finally got banned because she was all over these posts in a not so nice way.
                            Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)


                            • #15
                              how widely interpreted is "under supervision" in this regard?

                              Our chiro, for example, is not a vet (human chiro, animal certified) but in MN has to work under vet supervision. This pretty much means you call vet once & get permission.

                              I have DVM dental specialist. All they do is teeth, so I am very confident in their skills. Even if it wasn't someone with extra education for dental, I would expect someone who does teeth all day long, every day, to have a better feel for everything.

                              I don't think one can get a good float without speculum & full deal. I saw one horse go through float and then subsequent oral exam b/f regular vet finally sedated (third time's a charm) & got a good look to determine issue with teeth waaaay in the back. In the meantime, horse was not eating & in pain


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Hippolyta View Post
                                I have DVM dental specialist. All they do is teeth, so I am very confident in their skills. Even if it wasn't someone with extra education for dental, I would expect someone who does teeth all day long, every day, to have a better feel for everything.
                                I assume you & I are talking about the same people.
                                I loved my old dentist, who was a vet, but specialized in dentistry, and worked with his wife (who was not a vet, but specialized in dentistry and worked with her DVM husband, so all is good). I very much preferred that over one or the other, but obviously hard to find.

                                Unfortunately I moved last year and have yet to find the equivalent. So I have stuck with vets doing the dental work. It's not like they never see teeth, and I feel much more comfortable having a vet doing a float and managing tranqs than a non-DVM.

                                It's like my farriers; I've had many tell me that they require the owner give tranqs is necessary. They're not about to assume that risk if the horse needs tranqs and they botch it, even though I know many of them are capable of it. They've just never had the formal training. I knew one who actually carried xylazine on his truck, and just had owners administer it.


                                • #17
                                  We have had Dentists do the horses, have been very happy with their work. However they are not giving any sedation, that is a medical treatment, must be administered by the Vet.

                                  Compare it to the Farrier, another non-Vet, equine specialist, giving your horse sedation to stand for trims or shoes. Not legal in this instance either, unless Farrier also has a Vet license.

                                  Our tooth people all do our work by hand, no power tools. Horses stand quiet, wear the speculums with no issue. The tooth folks do check WAYYYY in the back where molars hide, do a jaw slide on each animal manually, to see if teeth work as needed for chewing. They do use flashlights, may stick their hands in, check manually for points while the speculum is holding jaws open. After all these years, I have a better understanding of how "complete a job" they do, instead of just waving the float around for a few minutes.

                                  Latest tooth person is also a Vet, does a good job on teeth, much better than other Vets we had do teeth in the past. Teeth are the Dentist's specialty, he sees many more mouths, teeth conditions, than most Vets will, so I have no problem using a Dentist for the horses. Dentist just can't give shots.


                                  • #18
                                    goodhors -
                                    I agree with you that someone who does all teeth, all the time, is going to be better at it than someone who doesn't. I think if I was given the choice btn
                                    non-DVM dentist with years of expertise (who can do all you describe w/out sedation) & a non specialist vet, I would prob pick the dentist. It was exactly the lack of the vet's experience in my story that led to three exams b/f the issue was found.

                                    morganpony - where are you located now?


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Hippolyta View Post
                                      morganpony - where are you located now?
                                      Louisiana; I'm open to anyone who may have suggestions for dentists down here!


                                      • #20
                                        I have a dentist trained by Dr Hyde
                                        I have a repro vet for breeding
                                        I have a leg man vet for lameness and joint Maintainence ,,,,
                                        Also have a chiropractor vet for adjustments and anything I think is neurological.
                                        And I have a farrier trained at Cornell
                                        They all work well together and don't let egos get in the way of treatment.