Equine dentistry


Ratification Date: 01 Nov 2008


All dental procedures on horses and related species should be performed only by registered veterinarians and be supported by evidenced-based medicine.


The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) recognises that to provide optimal health and quality of life, good oral care is necessary. Diseases of the oral cavity, if left untreated, are not just painful, but may also contribute to ill thrift and other local or systemic diseases.

The primary aim of equine dentistry is to maintain good oral health and maximise the comfort and function of the horse while eating and when bitted.

Advances in the understanding of oral pathology and function, drug modalities, technology, skills and skill learning opportunities have allowed this area of veterinary science to leap forward to a position where only qualified and skilled veterinarians can practice it.

Unless these issues are fully understood, the practice of equine dentistry becomes unreasonable for animal welfare and consumer protection aside from horse health and legislative grounds.

Incorrect dental procedures can result in any or all of the following: smooth dental tables, exposed pulps, inappropriate orthodontic movement, loss of teeth, bone fractures, osteomyelitis and abscess, death from complication or for humane reasons.

Horse owners are entitled to expect that the persons practising dentistry are properly trained, accredited and regulated.

Date of ratification by AVA Board November 2008