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Welcome to Our First-Ever Equine Dental Blog!

Updated: Feb 29

Equine dentistry is not simply what we do. It’s not a job. It’s who we are. We feel immensely grateful to be in such a rewarding and challenging field – and we want to share that with you!

Nick Moore DVM giving a lecture

How My Journey Began

I am often asked how I started in equine dentistry. This is an important question as the roots often dictate the direction a tree grows in. Around the fall of 2000, I was traveling with an equine clinician (Doyle Parker) who repeatedly told me there was only one person he would let work on his horse’s teeth. This happened to be an equine dental technician named Dean Kopnick from Fallon, Nevada. I rode a Greyhound bus from Billings, Montana to Fallon, Nevada to help Doyle with a horsemanship and colt starting clinic. While we were there, Dean explained some general dental concepts and I was fortunate to be able to watch him work on some horses. He also gave me a copy of The Journal of Equine Dentistry which I proceeded to read cover to cover about a

dozen times.

During this same period, a stallion we owned on the ranch I grew up on had great difficulty maintaining weight. He had received regular dental care, but each winter was harder on him than the last. He passed away that same year I was traveling the country helping with clinics.

When I got back to the ranch I examined the skull from the deceased stallion and realized – even with my extremely limited knowledge – that his teeth were terrible. In that moment I understood that there was a whole world inside a horse’s mouth and that very few people knew much about it. Young and naïve about all the politics of equine dentistry, I signed up for a class at the Academy of Equine Dentistry in Glenns Ferry, Idaho.

It is difficult to overstate the impact this decision had on my life. It was no doubt a pivotal moment. Dentistry became a passion that never waned. It eventually led me to veterinary school followed by a one-year clinical internship. With every passing year, my interest and love for this field keeps expanding in depth and breadth. My first intention was to give back to horses as they had given me so much. While continuing to do so daily, I now also teach others about this amazing field that has also given me so much.

The Problem

Veterinary medicine is in a bit of a difficult patch today even though the opportunities are brighter than ever. The burnout rate in equine practice is crazy. Veterinarians have the highest suicide rate among professionals. I have my own thoughts about why that is and will likely explore this in other blogs. For today, I would like to address equine dentistry as a field within veterinary medicine. I recently met with a large group of technicians at a conference and many expressed a similar frustration. I had presented a few lectures on topics such as infundibular caries and minimally invasive standing oral surgical options that we are performing. The general reason for the frustration was that they said they see the kind of cases that I discussed regularly in the field, but there are virtually no veterinarians that they can refer to that can provide the

type of care I described. In other words, they understand and recognize the problems but are unable to do anything about them!

On the other hand, every veterinary meeting I attend is non-stop punctuated with what a problem technicians are and how they are taking dental work away from vets. Many forget this situation arose because veterinarians essentially forgot about equine dentistry for about a century. There is an enormous opportunity for vets if they are willing to train hard with an open heart and mind. There is an almost unfillable demand for high-quality veterinary dentistry from both horse owners and technicians.

Because I started my career as a technician and have traveled regularly all over the world to work with some of the most passionate practitioners of equine dentistry, I have had the privilege of mixed and non-dogmatic education. I have absorbed knowledge from a very wide range of sources. This has given me a unique background that many well-meaning veterinarians have not had exposure to. I am not tribal, I am hyper-focused on the work itself and on achieving the best possible outcomes for the horse and owner in the most efficient manner possible.

The Change for Equine Dentistry

As such, part of my objective with this blog is to help interested veterinarians gain knowledge and skills that have a real-world impact on equine dental health. I aim to bring high-caliber veterinarians and equine dental technicians together in a symbiotic relationship that I know works. Life is too short to dwell on the politics of equine dentistry which is mostly based on old history, erroneous assumptions, and displaced egos that act as a roadblock to real progress and fulfillment. The work itself is so rewarding and can change a person’s life in unimaginable ways. The need and demand from horse owners is greater than ever. The techniques and instruments available are advancing rapidly. These are exciting times for equine dentistry. If you are interested in this field, then sign up for this blog which will sparse together a mixture of techniques, clinical cases, personal insights and experience, and a general discussion on anything equine dentistry related!


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