New standards for equine dental technicians (EDTs) that come into force next month should help horse owners choose who to call in order to care for their horses’ teeth.

The national occupation standards are part of a move by the veterinary world to devolve some tooth care from the vet to suitably trained EDTs.

And they define the qualifications those EDTs should hold.

Currently, all dental work, except basic tooth rasping, falls under the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 and should only be carried out by vets.

But the reality is that EDTs undertake a large number of activities, with the agreement of the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA).

“There is a misconception that vets want to stop dental technicians from undertaking tooth care, but this could not be further from the truth,” said BEVA president Keith Chandler.

“We and the British Association of Equine Dental Technicians [BAEDT] have been working for a number of years with Defra to create an exemption from the Act for suitably qualified EDTs.”

Part of the process has been to draw up the standards with training organisation Lantra and create a clear list of those procedures that could be carried out by an EDT and those that should be reserved for the vet.

Mr Chandler believes that an exemption will be achieved within two years.
“It’s good news for EDTs, owners and horses,” said BAEDT chairman Gemma Lilly.

This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (17 January 2013)