Medication – Why And When To Use Drugs In Equine Dentistry

Drugs Eliminate Horsemanship From The Equation

Medications should be given when the horse asks for them. They allow the horse to cooperate with a painful procedure. This includes wolf tooth extraction, fractured tooth removal, and occasionally routine floating. Automatic sedation of horses for dentistry does not address oral pain, which is the most common reason for non-compliance.

If the horse needs pain relief, medicating the horse allows for completing the float, which is the goal of routine dentistry. This is the ethical use of medication in horses. With Horsemanship Dentistry, about 3 in 100 horses need medication (3%). This is based on my yearly medical statistics over the last ten years. Most of those medicated are for painful procedures, while the remaining are for routine floating. This means that some horses need medication to help them overcome their fear of the dentist (anxiety).

The automatic use of medications for routine dentistry is unnecessary. Dentists who automatically “sedate” horses for routine dentistry were never taught how to perform it without medication. While being trained, they were taught that only an incomplete float could be achieved without drugs. This thought is disproved every day using Horsemanship Dentistry.