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Equine root canal a New Zealand first

Equine root canal a New Zealand first

Dr Ian Dacre
performs what is thought to be the first equine endodontic
filling, or root canal, in New Zealand

A 15-year-old mare named Bonnie will be able to graze in greater comfort after Massey equine veterinarian Dr Ian Dacre performed what is thought to be the first equine endodontic filling, or root canal, in New Zealand.

The mare was sedated and locally anaesthetised for the two-hour operation on two of the lower incisors, which took approximately. She will return to the hospital at a later date for a root canal on her two upper incisors.

Equine incisors are the nibbling teeth used in grazing, and their roots reach deep into the jaw at a length of up to 8cm. A root canal is performed to relieve the pain of infected teeth, and a dentist will drill into the root cavity before filling the hole.

Dr Dacre, who holds the only PhD in equine dental pathology since 1979, says troublesome incisors may be removed, but as a result, other teeth tend to shift along the jaw leaving gaps in which food gets stuck. This may lead to further dental complications, and may adversely affect a horse’s chewing mechanism.

The University’s veterinary hospital director Dr Allan Frazer says the clinic is the only place in New Zealand where horses can receive this type of treatment, and that the hospital’s equine veterinarians conducted dental procedures ranging from filing through to specialised operations such as the endodontics.


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