News Release on Equine Denistry from IJ

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JWC sr.

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Apr 21, 2006
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Santa Fe Texas
I just got this from the IJ that is representing the equine denist today. It is a copy of an article in the Ft Worth News paper.

A certain lack of horse sense here


By CLARK NEILYSpecial to the Star-Telegram


Horses have a special place in Texas history and in the hearts of many Texans. So it is a shame to see the Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners lining up behind a new policy that puts the profits of state-licensed veterinarians above the best interests of horses and their owners.


Reversing longstanding policy, the state board recently decreed that only state-licensed veterinarians may "float" horse teeth. Like their hooves, horses' teeth grow throughout their lifetimes and need to be filed down or "floated" periodically to maintain proper length and alignment. Just as farriers perform that service for horses' hooves, non-veterinarian equine dental practitioners have done it for horses' teeth.


Interestingly, most veterinary schools, including Texas A&M, teach little or nothing about horse teeth floating. By contrast, Randy Riedinger runs a school in Weatherford, the Texas Institute of Equine Dentistry, where he teaches veterinarians and non-veterinarians alike how to properly float a horse's teeth.


Riedinger has taught hundreds of people to properly care for horses' teeth over the years and has personally floated the teeth of at least 40,000 horses. He was raised on a horse ranch and has studied equine dental care for the last 15 years. Many horse owners wouldn't dream of letting an inexperienced, untrained veterinarian work on their horses' teeth; they want an experienced practitioner like Riedinger, who has a demonstrated track record of success and a whole book full of satisfied customers.


One of Riedinger's star students is Josh Wallace, who lives in Whitesboro. Wallace grew up on a farm in Tennessee and has been around horses his entire life, caring for them and competing in rodeos.


He graduated from Riedinger's school two years ago and stayed on as an instructor, where he teaches both basic and advanced courses in equine dentistry. When he's not teaching, Wallace is out floating teeth for horse owners in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Florida.


So why would the Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners suddenly try to fix what was never broken by giving veterinarians the exclusive right to float horse teeth in Texas?


It's simple: Follow the money. By shutting out lay practitioners like Riedinger and Wallace, the board ensures that state-licensed veterinarians are the only game in town. That enables vets to charge higher prices for possibly inferior service because they no longer have any competitors to worry about.


Of course, board members will deny that this is all about money -- they will say it is about protecting horses. Rubbish.


There are more than a million horses in Texas, but only 600 large-animal vets. The state board itself has recognized that "there are not enough veterinarians skilled in equine dentistry to meet the public's needs." As a result, if the board's attempt to give veterinarians a monopoly on horse teeth floating is successful, horses will suffer.


Further, people who earn a living caring for horse teeth have a strong incentive to learn how to do it well, whereas people who have simply been handed a monopoly, the way Texas veterinarians have, do not.


Finally, the law is riddled with exceptions that allow untrained, unlicensed laypersons to perform much more invasive procedures on horses and other animals, including farrier work, castration, dehorning and tail docking. To single out equine dental practitioners who simply float horses' teeth is absurd.


Fortunately, Riedinger, Wallace and other practitioners are fighting back. Represented by attorneys from the Institute for Justice, Riedinger challenged the constitutionality of the state board's conduct in court.


The board refused to answer for its actions and instead had its attorneys engage in a variety of delaying tactics. So Wallace and four other equine dental practitioners followed up with another lawsuit this week in Austin. Sooner or later, the board will have to stop playing games and face the music.


For the sake of Texas' 1 million horses and their owners, and for the sake of hard-working Texans like Randy Riedinger and Josh Wallace, the sooner the better.


Clark Neily is a senior attorney with the Institute for Justice, a national public interest law firm representing Randy Riedinger and Josh Wallace.
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Dec 21, 2005
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North Texas

Thanks for posting this. Please do keep us informed on what we can do to help the cause. I sure would hate to loose my equine dentist and have to use the vets around here. It would be an injustice.


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Oct 19, 2003
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Kudos to the person who wrote this article and to the folks who published it!! This is awesome, thank you for posting this! Good for them!!!


Oct 20, 2003
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Based on my limited experience, the vets that do "dentistry" on horses do not normally have the equipment to work on a Mini's small mouth. They also don't want to do anything except floating of teeth or just the minimum corrective work. We took two of our minis to a vet/dentist for major problems and the vet only did the absolute "emergency" minor fix. Nothing to really solve the issues. Unfortunately the people who

are true "equine dentists" and do bit seats etc are not permitted to "practice" in most states because of the

new rulings. Many states overlook this, but Texas and Oklahoma are two that are really strict about it.

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