Dental work - What's involved?


Before booking an appointment Lucy will check with you whether your horse/donkey is up to date with his or her tetanus vaccination.


Horses and donkeys are very susceptible to catching tetanus even through small cuts and grazes. The disease is caused by the bacterium Clostridium tetani which is commonly found in soil. Due to the small associated risk of catching tetanus, it is advised that your horse/donkey is kept up to date with their vaccination. Lucy will always ask you whether your horses/donkeys are up to date with their tetanus vaccination and, if not, will ensure you are aware of the risks before an appointment is booked.


At the beginning of your appointment Lucy will ask about your horse/donkey's history before commencing dental work


This history may invlove:

-How long you have owned your horse/donkey

-How old your horse/donkey is

-Previous medical or dental history including when they were last done and whether you may have any dental charts detailing their previous dental work.

-If they are eating well and whether they are ridden

-If there are any particular problems or observations which you feel may be dental related


Lucy will introduce herself to your horse/donkey and begin a thorough external and internal examination of the head and oral cavity.


As part of her terms and conditions, Lucy will ensure an owner or handler of the horse/donkey is always present throughout the duration of the appointment. She will recommend that if a young adult or supervised child is near or holding the horse/donkey that they should wear head protection for health and safety reasons.


After an external examination, the gag (or speculum) will be introduced to your horse/donkey and Lucy will proceed with a visual and manual internal examination whilst constantly monitoring your horse/donkey to ensure they remain calm and comfortable throughout the process. She will also explain her findings of the examination and continue to explain what treatment is recommended.


Lucy will start dental treatment which will involve either manual or motorised dental tools according to your individual horse or donkey's requirements


This part of the appointment could last between approximately 15 and 30 minutes depending on the work required and the ease of treament. Lucy only uses battery powered tools for most routine dental work. From experience manual hand tools can cause more dental trauma and (with being a perfectionist) do not achieve as thorough or long lasting results, particularly if there are any overgrowths or displacements. Lucy only ever uses hand tools alongside power tools if needs must ..although its not the perfect scenario, sometimes only a narrow shaped hand rasp will fit in the very back of some tiny mouths. Manual rasping has also been shown to cause elevated signs of stress levels and discomfort compared to power tools (Williams, Parrot and Damata, 2011). Lucy will always ensure your horse/donkey remains as comfortable and calm as possible during the appointment. If there are any signs of discomfort during treatment or if they show any form of unease, then she will discuss with you the alternative options. 


A dental chart will be written out and explained to you ensuring your full understanding of the dental layout and treatment involved.


Lucy will urge you to ask any questions you may have either on the day or at any point after your appointment. Your full understanding your horse or donkey's dentition and the dental work involved is a very important part of the process. She will advise any post treatment protocols and will advise when the next routine dental check up would be required which is usually between 6-12 months.