Why do you sedate horses for their dental check-up?

​Dental problems don’t just disappear, they continue to be, or will become, performance problems, eating problems, and often very expensive problems in the future. There is no such thing as a “cheaper or quicker” way to shortcut such an important part of your horse’s health care.

The key to providing good dental care for your horse is a thorough dental and oral assessment where every tooth can be visualised using a bright headlight and examined in detail with a dental mirror and probe. It is almost impossible to do this efficiently in a horse that is moving their tongue and a lot of problems will simply be missed if the mouth isn’t examined thoroughly. “If you can’t see it you can’t treat it”.

Administering a light sedation allows for a significantly more detailed oral examination and better access to the back of their narrow mouth and hard-to-reach molars, discovering many conditions that normally would have gone undiagnosed with just a “quick feel of the teeth”.

All horses, ponies and donkeys examined by DentaVet will have a light sedation (at no extra cost), which is a very safe and reliable way of providing a stress-free, controlled and thorough consultation. Sedation has been used by both veterinary and human medical professionals for many years, undeniably improving the quality and scope of their patient care. We feel that it is a safe procedure, with the benefits far outweighing any remote negatives.

Prior to administering sedation, we will check your horse’s heart to ascertain if they are fit to be sedated and determine the correct dose. Once sedated, your horse will remain standing and they can rest their head on an adjustable padded headstand, which allows any corrective treatments to be carried out quickly, efficiently and safely. Your horse will come round from the sedation shortly after the treatment ends and can usually be fed or turned out within an hour.Should you want to clip your horse or pull their mane and need a top up following the procedure, just ask when booking the appointment.

Initial sedation is included in the price of all routine oral examination and dental rasping. If extra sedation is required to complete a routine procedure this may be charged.

Dental examinations may be carried out without sedative in very quiet horses, however in many cases this will compromise both the detailed oral examination and corrective treatments – especially at the back of the horse’s mouth.

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