UK Politics

Horse dentistry industry set for overhaul

Image caption Horses' teeth continue to grow unless rasped

The government is promising to improve the quality of horses' dental care by sorting out the respective roles of vets and technicians.

Some in the equine world have complained that care quality is not even enough and needs standardising.

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has launched a consultation, looking at the training and animal welfare rules.

It said it wanted to "clarify" roles within horse dentistry.

Currently veterinary surgeons carry out most mouth-work performed on horses, but some is done by equine dental technicians.

The latter focus mainly on minor procedures like teeth-rasping - filing down to prevent excessive growth.

Defra is looking to formalise the rules involved, so that safeguards on horses' welfare can be improved.

A spokeswoman said: "Horses need to have their teeth looked after to ensure their health and welfare.

"Veterinary surgeons perform most procedures but it's recognised that trained technicians can perform some less invasive dental procedures on horses, such as teeth-rasping.

"To protect the welfare of horses, we're having discussions with the industry to clarify what non-vets can do."

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