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Frequently Asked Questions

To allow for a more detailed exam of the mouth and allow the procedure to be carried out in a safe, relaxed and comfortable manner for all present.


A gag on a horses head weighing in total around 50kg is a huge risk to all. The gag is positioned on the head only after a sedative has been administered. 


Horses have strong muscle development for closing the mouth so relaxing these muscles helps the comfort of the horse during the exam when the mouth is open.


The head is still, the tongue and cheeks relaxed, allowing the whole mouth to be visualised thoroughly during both the examination and treatment.


Melissa auscultates /checks the heart of every horse as part of the examination and will inform you if there any concerns regarding sedation but generally it is very safe even for older horses. Melissa regularly sedates horses in their 20/30's for annual dental examinations.

Sedation allows the entire mouth to be examined thoroughly. Relaxing the tongue and cheeks reduces the effort of the horse pushing against the tools in the mouth, allowing for a more comfortable experience.  

This does vary per dose & horse but patients, can on average: 

.. be turned out to grass within half an hour of finishing the dental. fed hard feed or hay an hour after finishing the dental. ridden the following day.

Melissa will advise you at the appointment.


The DETECTION rate for the drugs used to sedate are 72hours so the WITHDRAWL period will be longer than this. Leave at least 6 -7 days to be sure before competing. 

The answer is yes, mares can be sedated upto 6 -7 months or the last trimester of their pregnancy, but Melissa personally does not sedate any pregnant mares unless it is absolutely essential.

Yes, of course however it is cheaper per horse if there are multiple horses to examine at one yard.

No, all the equipment is battery powered ( apart from the x ray machine) no electrical wires on the floor or generators needed!! Those days are gone, thank goodness, its much safer without cables on the floor.

A stable or field shelter in which to work and a bucket of warm water. Access is important, we do carry a lot of kit so we do need to be able to bring the car as close to the examination space as possible.

Most horses require an exam every 12 months. There are exceptions to the rule for example some younger horses with concerns may be examined every 6 months and some horses with great conformation and little pathology, may be extended over 12 months.

Melissa and Amy are very experienced and rarely have any problems even with the most nervous of patients. But being prepared is important so please let us know in advance if your horse is needle shy.

 Please call or text Melissa  to enquire with a stabling address and postcode. It is obviously going to be cheaper if the visit fee is divided amongst a few so try and get a group together to split the cost.

 Patients are usually quite awake by the time the exam and treatment is finished. However if you would like a top up to complete a procedure, please just ask. There is usually a small charge for this.

Yes, wolf teeth present that require extraction can be easily removed during the examination. Local anaesthetic is injected around the tooth for a pain free procedure.

No, there is no need as they are only lightly sedated but please remove hay and feed for one hour after the procedure. Sedation causes the swallowing muscles to be sleepy and the mouth produce less saliva, so it is more likely that choke will occur if fed immediately afterwards.

  • haynet
  • Small feed
  • Thermatex rug (or similar)
  • Light sheet
  • Head collar and lead rope
  • Passport (for travelling and to show that Tetanus vac is up to date)

Regular dental examinations are usually required from 2-3 years old. Racehorses are generally bitted earlier than most riding horses and are thus examined at a younger age.

Horses are designed to eat for about 19 hours a day. When the head is on the floor the upper and lower arcades of the teeth are aligned and will wear correctly. Quite simply allow your horse to eat from the floor as much as possible and have good regular dentistry to identify pathology quickly and deal with them before they cause discomfort.

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