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All work is done with sedation and, when indicated, with local and/or regional nerve blocks. While other practitioners may feel comfortable guessing how the horse is feeling about having dental work, research shows that even close observation by horse experts is not enough to determine when horses are experiencing discomfort (you must measure cortisol levels or at least heart rate continuously). Just like you would prefer to be at ease during your visit to your dentist, we, as professionals pledged to safeguard the total well-being of our patients, want them to be comfortable and free of worry, too.

A restless horse is difficult to examine. Also, a truly thorough exam cannot be performed without a speculum and a good light source. Without sedation horses may become very worried about the speculum. You cannot examine for periodontal disease “by feel” - you must be able to look directly at the gum tissue surrounding each tooth. Rasping down sharp points without examining the inside of the mouth is a minuscule fraction of what an oral exam must be to make sure there are no problems.

Modern sedatives are extremely safe and it is hard to find reports of serious problems arising from their use.

Why do you need to sedate my horse? For years, I’ve had floating done without it and it has been fine…