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Question About Equine Dentists

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  • Question About Equine Dentists

    My SO is getting ready to go to school to become an equine dentist. Of course, after finishing school, he will need to get clients. We were talking to a person that has been a dentist for 5 years and she said the first three years, it was very hard to get clients.

    I was thinking that if he offered an exceptional price and was willing to travel all across VA/MD/PA, that we could get enough clients to at least keep our family afloat. Would you allow a fairly new dentist work on your horse if he took his time, made sure the horse was comfortable, and was thorough with his work? What kind of price would make it worth giving a new denist a shot?
    #JusticeForSunshine

  • #2
    I don't know about prices, but just because a dentist was a a new graduate, it would not deter me. As a matter of fact, I might be encouraged that he was more up to date on new practices and procedures. I am in nc, and it's illegal here to hire an equine dentist without a DVM degree....

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    • #3
      He can go work as a vet assistant and so gain more experience under supervision and if he sees it may work, later go on his own as an equine dentist, with his vet's approval maybe, if he becomes very good at it.

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      • #4
        What do you consider an exceptional price? The guy I use has many many years of experience, regularly attends and sometimes teaches seminars, and does dental work on critters at the Louisville Zoo. Price is only $50-60. He's amazingly quiet and gentle and even squirrely young horses trust him. I've watched this dude pop out wolf teeth without sedation with barely a flinch from the horse.

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        • #5
          Racetrack? Our track vet does an adequate job at $100/float, but I think many trainers would be willing to pay a little more for a more indepth and focused job. But not too expensive, we had a dentist that my boss fired for being overly expensive ($200-300/horse adds up to unhappy owners.)
          It's a uterus, not a clown car. - Sayyedati

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          • #6
            I don't allow anyone other than a vet to sedate my horses. So the last EDT I used was the one my vet recommended, since they came out together. But they both retired.

            I use my vet now, which is less than ideal, but we don't have another EDT in the area who works with a vet.

            So that would be my advice as a practice builder - work out a referral/ride along deal with a vet with a large practice.
            I'm not ignoring the rules. I'm interpreting the rules. Tamal, The Great British Baking Show

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            • #7
              Just keep in mind that if he intends to work across state lines that he has to be licensed in each state he plans to work in.

              Eileen
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              • #8
                I know my dentist apprenticed with an experienced one. Is that something your SO could do? That way he could get a good reputation and branch out from there.
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                • #9
                  I wouldn't use one right out of school regardless of price unless they were under the supervision of an experienced equine dentist or vet.
                  A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it.

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                  • #10
                    I wouldn't touch a dentist right out of school. I believe in at least one of the states you mentioned the vet has to travel with a dentist so that is pretty hard to work out. In one of the other states I think they need to be certified by the state which can be hard to do when you first start out. I would think it would be extremely hard to get started since a lot of people realize that you don't get a complete job if you are only using someone that calls themselves a dentists as opposed to a vet. For some horses I'm sure it works out but for most it doesn't.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by davistina67 View Post
                      I would think it would be extremely hard to get started since a lot of people realize that you don't get a complete job if you are only using someone that calls themselves a dentists as opposed to a vet. For some horses I'm sure it works out but for most it doesn't.
                      Actually it sounds like you would use and equine dentist and would only use a vet. It sounds like you think only a vet does a "complete" job. In my area, which is VERY horsey there are a few equine dentists. They all do a better job than 90% of the vets, including those that specialize in equine vet practice. Many of the vets around here prefer to not even float teeth. The equine dentists here are plenty busy and specialize in teeth. They do it day in, day out and because of that are good at it.
                      The vets do floats occasionally but because they do not do it every day, all day they are not as proficient at it.
                      Many of the larger barns will arrange for the dentist and the vet will stop out at the same time for the odd horse that might need sedation.
                      At least one vet I know has one of the better known local equine dentists float his own personal horses. He feels the dentist does a better job. Because she does a better job and is more efficient it is less stressful for the horse.

                      In my experience, in this area I would much rather have one of the equine dentists float my horses teeth than the vet. Yes, two of the three dentists I have used can and will float most horses without sedation but with a speculum. The third has everything she works on tranq'd. She feels it is a safety thing for her.

                      OP- I would only consider a new dentist if I had recommendations from another dentist I trusted or a vet I trusted. For floating price is not the driving factor for me. Being confident the float is good is way more important. It is hard for me to judge a good float since you can't see the direct results. Therefore you are mostly judging a good float on horse handling skills and reputation. For some horses you may be able to tell based on how they act after the float.
                      Last edited by SonnysMom; Feb. 1, 2012, 09:48 PM. Reason: Needed to actually answer OP's question.
                      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)

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by SonnysMom View Post
                        Actually it sounds like you would use and equine dentist and would only use a vet. It sounds like you think only a vet does a "complete" job. In my area, which is VERY horsey there are a few equine dentists. They all do a better job than 90% of the vets, including those that specialize in equine vet practice. Many of the vets around here prefer to not even float teeth. The equine dentists here are plenty busy and specialize in teeth. They do it day in, day out and because of that are good at it.
                        The vets do floats occasionally but because they do not do it every day, all day they are not as proficient at it.
                        Many of the larger barns will arrange for the dentist and the vet will stop out at the same time for the odd horse that might need sedation.
                        At least one vet I know has one of the better known local equine dentists float his own personal horses. He feels the dentist does a better job. Because she does a better job and is more efficient it is less stressful for the horse.

                        In my experience, in this area I would much rather have one of the equine dentists float my horses teeth than the vet. Yes, two of the three dentists I have used can and will float most horses without sedation but with a speculum. The third has everything she works on tranq'd. She feels it is a safety thing for her.

                        OP- I would only consider a new dentist if I had recommendations from another dentist I trusted or a vet I trusted. For floating price is not the driving factor for me. Being confident the float is good is way more important. It is hard for me to judge a good float since you can't see the direct results. Therefore you are mostly judging a good float on horse handling skills and reputation. For some horses you may be able to tell based on how they act after the float.
                        My point is the law in many states limits what a person that is not a vet can do even if they are registered as an equine dentist. One of them of course is sedating. The others can be taking off large hooks, correcting wave mouths, doing extractions, filling cavities, addressing periodontal pockets,removing blind wolf teeth and several others. What can happen in those cases is the dentist just ignores the issue instead of admitting that they can't do the full job. Of course, that is if they even recognize these things which at times can be difficult if the horse is not sedated.

                        Just things for the OP to think about if they go through with this.

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                        • #13
                          I have heard that equine vets are pushing hard to make it difficult for equine dentists to practice. I would not use a new graduate dentist (or new graduate) vet for my horses' dental work unless I had no other choice. A discount would not be likely to sway me since I am paying in the $70 range per horse right now, which I think is quite reasonable, and that is for someone with years of experience and a wonderful way with the horses.

                          I don't want to be discouraging, though. I do know many vets who hate doing teeth, so perhaps your DH could join up with a veterinary practice to assist them initially.

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                          • #14
                            Well all I can say about this with 1 TB who has been done by vets and an exceptional nat. equine dentist I will put Doug LaRose as being better than having the vet come out sedate and miss points in the back, and then charge me again for a "float" because a twig in the round bale levered between the back teeth and kept him from being able to eat2x price=300 dollars. Doug was out to look at teeth for another boarder,and told her that Captain's teeth were worn down, and needed to be on senior/soft. Didn't charge her for comming out . Did my 2 for $50 a piece, without sedation and no bitchin' at me about "keep him still!" after 2 damn shots(i.e the vet) Go to LaRose Dentristry and look at the video, Both the boys were alert awake and have been chewin' no quidin', no grain spillin' no funny side grindin' just my story and I'm stickin' to it.

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                            • #15
                              I watched all 4 videos. Maybe there was a lot that was not on video? Pretty typical of what I would call incomplete dental work unless parts of the video are missing? Maybe in some parts of the country people would call this a dental but certainly not what I am use to. And if your vet did even less then this, shame on them. I wouldn't blame you for at least trying to find someone who might do better.

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                              • #16
                                I wont use someone who isn't a vet or under a vets direct supervision. I currently use a DVM who is a dental specialist and board certified in equine dentistry. I would not use a vet who doesn't specialize in dentistry...have seen way too many problems with those....

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                                • #17
                                  There's a guy around here who charges $60 a horse and I won't use him because he's too cheap. How can he do a good job for $60? Other boarders used him and I watched him rasp with no speculum and yes they were getting what they were paying for.

                                  A cheap price is a turn-off for me.

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                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Ponyclubrocks View Post
                                    I wont use someone who isn't a vet or under a vets direct supervision. I currently use a DVM who is a dental specialist and board certified in equine dentistry. I would not use a vet who doesn't specialize in dentistry...have seen way too many problems with those....
                                    Ditto. The practice I deal with has an equine vet who specializes in dentistry. It's all he does. He charges $125 which includes sedation. I use another vet at the practice for routine shots and other stuff. I'm just more comfortable using a vet - even for dental work.

                                    ETA... I just got my invoice for my horse's dental last month. $90 for the float, $22 for the sedation and $25 (shared) farm call fee. Total - $137. This is for a vet whose practice is limited to equine dentistry.
                                    Last edited by paintlady; Feb. 3, 2012, 02:48 PM.

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