Becoming an Equine Dental Technician
Equine Dental Technicians are veterinary professionals who provide dental care of equine animals, particularly horses. They primarily assist the Equine Dentist during the study, diagnosis, and treatment of various oral diseases, or dental disorders of horses. They also identify emerging dental problems and take measures to prevent these issues from developing further. Their key responsibility is known as ‘floating’ a horse’s teeth. Floating refers to rasping the sharp edges of animal’s teeth, which may impact the feed intake and performance of animals.
Equine Dental Technicians also conduct laboratory tests, take x-rays, and provide primary medical treatments to the animals. Their other duties may include removing of tartar, assisting with tooth extractions, keeping the animals’ record, determining the age of a horse by the condition of its teeth so on and so forth. In addition, these professionals educate the owners and trainers of animals on how to take better health care of their animals.
Equine Dental Technicians work in varieties of settings such as veterinary hospitals, private clinics, equestrian facilities, research facilities, zoos, farms etc. Since these professionals occasionally work outdoors in different weather conditions, their jobs may be physically demanding. They may also work in different schedules, including nights and weekends, and need to travel.
To become an Equine Dental Technician, the aspiring candidates have to complete at least a two-year associate degree in veterinary technology. The candidates may hold a 4-year bachelor’s degree in veterinary technology for better job prospects. The common syllabus may include dental anatomy, aging the horse, equine physiology, immunology, tooth extraction techniques, x-ray imaging, medical terminology etc.
Equine Dental Technicians must become registered, licensed, or certified, depending on their settings. They can obtain certification from the International Association of Equine Dentistry and the American Veterinary Dental Society.
Job Outlook and Salary:
According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the projected growth rate of Equine Dental Technicians may rise 19% from 2014 to 2024. The average annual salary of an Equine Dental Technician was $31,800 in May 2015.