Poor dental care led to ‘dangerous’ horse nearly being put down

The owner of a horse who was due to be put down owing to his “dangerous” behavioural issues, which were found to be caused by sharp teeth, has urged others to check their equine dental technicians’ (EDT) qualifications

Laura Kent from Hertfordshire booked an EDT for her 15.1hh part-bred Highland Teddy at the beginning of 2018.

“Teddy had started being quite naughty after I bought him in December 2017 so I got his back checked. I got lots of recommendations from people about an EDT they were using so I booked the person and automatically thought he was qualified. When he saw Teddy he said there were no issues with his mouth,” Laura told H&H.

“Six months down the line Teddy went lame but the vet couldn’t find anything. We decided to give him four months in the field to see if that helped but when I tried bringing him back into work he was a nightmare; he would rear vertically.”

Laura arranged for the same EDT to look at Teddy again.

“The EDT said everything was ok but Teddy had stopped eating and drinking properly and he was becoming depressed and dangerous. I was thinking the worst and thought he had mental issues but the vet still couldn’t find anything,” she said, adding that she tried “everything” to find the cause of the issues.

“We thought we weren’t going to be able to fix him. There was nothing obvious as to why he was lame and the vet said he seemed perfectly healthy. The vet didn’t look at his teeth because the dentist had said his mouth was fine.”

Teddy was booked to be put down in April 2019.

“It was heartbreaking but my mum didn’t want me riding a dangerous horse and we had tried everything for him,” said Laura.

“A week before he was due to be put to sleep another EDT was at the yard and I asked him to have a look at Teddy. The EDT said Teddy’s teeth were awful – they were so sharp they cut his hand and he found lots of mouth ulcers. When I told the EDT who I had been using, I was told he wasn’t qualified.”

Laura said the change in Teddy’s behaviour once the qualified EDT had treated him was “amazing” and when she got back on he was a different horse.

“Teddy needed two visits to fix everything and I’ll be getting six-monthly check-ups from now on. We think he was showing signs of lameness because he was trying to avoid the bit when he was being ridden and the way it was making him carry himself. He would look sound in the field when he wasn’t ridden,” she said.

Article continued below…



“It’s a miracle thinking at one point we thought we would have to have him destroyed.”

Laura has urged others to check EDT qualfications on the British Association of Equine Dental Technicians register online.

“I’ve spoken to other people who used the unqualified EDT and they’ve had problems too. I want people to check qualifications and don’t risk their horses’ mouths being ruined.”

For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.