By Sue Palmer
A study has been released assessing the effect of equine dental work on faecal fibre length (the length of the hay fibres in the poo!). They (unsurprisingly) found that dental work (in horses who had not previously had any dental work done) improved the efficiency of mastication (meant the horses chewed better) resulting in reduced faecal fibre length (shorter hay fibres in the poo!). The suggestion was that potentially faecal fibre length could be used in assessing dental health, although I think there’s a way to go on this, because this study was done with just one type of hay, fed at a particular time, with amounts strictly measured, and so it would be difficult to compare these results with the average horse at the moment. Still, it’s a good start, and a good reminder that sometimes science has to start with the absolute basics (better dental health means you eat better) to have solid foundations to build later studies on. Also an excellent reminder to have your horses teeth checked regularly by an Equine Dental Technician (www.baedt.com in the UK), as part of maintaining good health.
As an aside, I’d like to thank Chris Pearce MRCVS (www.equinedentalclinic.co.uk, or search on FB for The Equine Dental Clinic) for inspiring me to learn more about equine dental health (or at least about who we should turn to for advice in this area), and Sam Hoole MRCVS (www.poolhousevets.com, or search on FB for Pool House Equine Clinic) for allowing me to observe surgery and pick his brains last year!
I’m incredibly lucky to have access to such great experience – from the info on the Pool House vets website: “Sam holds the European Diploma in Equine Dentistry – the highest possible level of qualification in the subject. Sam is one of a very small number of equine vets who have also taken the joint BEVA / BAEDT equine dental technicians exam. Indeed uniquely Sam obtained his BAEDT qualification after studying in both the UK and the USA before he started at Vet school. Sam is an RCVS recognised advanced practitioner in both equine dentistry and equine practice. Sam has lectured on equine dentistry and acted as an examiner for the BEVA/BAEDT examinations. He has been co author of a number of published papers in various journals on equine dentistry. He qualified as a vet in 2007 and has gained experience in a mixed practice in Fife Scotland.Outside of work Sam is an enthusiastic rugby player and competes at show jumping. Sam was also the first Vet to obtain the RCVS Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Practice – Equine Dentistry.” Heartfelt thanks to all who encourage me to continue learning and who offer me the opportunities to do so!