AVC Gets New Equine Dentistry and Laryngeal Surgery Equipment

A donation from the Equine Foundation of Canada (EFC) has allowed the Atlantic Veterinary College (AVC) at the University of Prince Edward Island in Charlottetown to purchase new equipment for equine dentistry procedures and laryngeal surgery.

Equine dentistry should be a routine part of preventive health care for horses, says Wendy Duckett, DVM, MS, Dip ACVIM, associate professor of large animal medicine at AVC. An important dental procedure for horses is floating, the process of gently filing sharp edges and/or overgrowths on a horse's teeth. Because a horse's teeth keep growing throughout their lives, they need to be filed--or floated--regularly. If not, the teeth can develop sharp enamel points that can cause painful sores in the animal's mouth, making eating or wearing a bridle painful.

With this grant from the EFC, the AVC has purchased a Powerfloat, a mechanized dental device for floating horses' teeth, as well as new hand floats equipped with tungsten carbide blades.

"Mechanized dentistry floats can safely and quickly deal with routine dental procedures as well as problems such as abnormal tooth overgrowth," says Duckett.

The grant from the EFC has also allowed the AVC to purchase instruments used in equine laryngeal surgery performed when horses develop a partial paralysis of the larynx (the voice box), causing an obstruction of the airflow, says Art Ortenburger, DVM, MS, associate professor of surgery at AVC. For many horses, the safest treatment is an outpatient procedure performed while the horse sedated but standing. This procedure requires two very long and thin instruments that pass through the horse's nose to grip the vocal cords, which are then trimmed by a laser under endoscopic guidance.

"This treatment is particularly good for the larger draft horse breeds," says Ortenburger. "The relative safety of this procedure for those heavy horses is much, much better, compared to putting them under general anesthesia. As with any better way to treat an animal, students will learn that this is possible for draft horses which have this problem, and all will benefit."

The EFC aids and promotes the health and welfare of horses across Canada. Past support from the Foundation allowed AVC to establish its equine chiropractic service.

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