Equilibration And Lateral Excursion In Equine Dentistry

Based On Poor Science And Not Needed

“Equilibration” and “lateral excursion” are definitions used in modern equine dentistry to describe issues seen inside the horse’s mouth. These dentists evaluate the movement of the jaw and adjust this movement by filing off edges in a manner that aligns the jaw. I feel that three issues invalidate these procedures.

  1. First, the primary cause is not directly addressed (removing pain); however, the sharp points are removed, so it is addressed secondarily. In other words, it is the removal of pain that the horse is responding to, not the equilibration procedure.
  2. The second issue is that a horse chews 10,000 to 40,000 times a day, so all the work done by the equilibration process may be gone in a week or two as the horse equilibrates by himself.
  3. And third, if the jaw has been out of equilibration for a while, can correcting it in one procedure injure the horse? We certainly would not abruptly change hoof angles without worrying about creating lameness.

So why do so many horses stop eating for days or weeks after being floated using these modern techniques? This rarely happens in our practice, where our only focus is eliminating oral pain.