An attorney representing Texas equine dentists announced that an Austin judge ruled Nov. 9 that the Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners violated state law when it changed its policy to prohibit anyone but licensed veterinarians from giving horses dental care, ending a three-year legal battle.

Before the Board changed its policies, non-veterinarian equine dentists, known as teeth floaters, were allowed to care for horses’ teeth, which grow throughout their lives. A horse’s teeth must be filed down every 6-12 months to prevent their molars from developing long enamel “points” that can prevent them from chewing food properly.

In 2007, a group of dentists filed a lawsuit against the board, claiming they are better trained in horse dental needs than most licensed vets.

Dewey Helmcamp, executive director of the TVBME, said it is unlikely the board will appeal the ruling.


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