Olivia James has a passion for veterinary equine dentistry and is one of three Diplomates of ICEVO (veterinary equine dental specialist – akin to a cardiologist or paediatrician specialist).
Olivia’s passion for equine dentistry started at an equine conference in 2004 when she attended a lecture by Dr. Oliver Liyou, who spoke of veterinary equine dentistry and the myriad of pathology and conditions found by those in the forefront of their field. In 2006 she attended an equine dentistry workshop also run by Dr. Liyou (the same one she now tutors at) and has expanded from there. Olivia taught small animal dentistry at CIT (TAFE equivalent) in 2007 before concentrating solely on equine dentistry. She is one of 13 veterinarians in Australia and New Zealand to be accepted as a member by examination to the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists (ANZCVSc) in Equine Dentistry (qualified in 2010). Olivia passed her Diplomate exams with ICEVO (Canada) in May 2015; she is one of 3 veterinarians in Australia and the only in NSW with this qualification. She regularly lectures and teaches this topic to veterinarians including at the Australian Veterinary Association Annual Conference.
Equine Dentistry is so much more than just filing sharp enamel points. The single most important aspect of an equine dental is without a doubt the oral exam. We believe that all horses deserve a healthy and comfortable mouth.
“What is not diagnosed cannot be treated”
Approximately 20% of horses only have sharp enamel points that need filing (also called floating). That leaves a staggering 80% that have oral pathology. By the use of a bright focal light source and a mirror, all aspects of the mouth are examined and pathology/disease diagnosed and assessed.
“Periodontal disease in the most common disease of the horse”
Periodontal disease is a painful oral condition that describes inflammation of the supporting structures of the tooth i.e. the gingiva, periodontal ligaments, cementum and alveolar bone. Studies have shown that up to 60% of horses over the age of 15 years suffer from periodontal disease.
Veterinary Equine Dentistry Consultations
A equine dentistry consultation involves a 10-point health check (physical examination), the taking a detailed patient history, weighing on the digital scales, the provision of sedatives and pain relief (if needed), a thorough examination of the external structures of the head and a detailed oral examination. Only then can treatment of pathology be performed, as well as the floating of sharp enamel points for proper equilibrium.
Other procedures that can be performed if required are intraoral and surgical extractions, the provision of nerve blocks (for otherwise painful procedures), treatment of periodontal disease, orthodontics, fracture repair and digital imaging (X-rays). In addition your horse’s entire health can be looked after by nutrition evaluation, the administration of de-wormers and vaccinations etc.