Equine dentists, or teeth floaters, would not face criminal charges for practicing their skills under a bill that won passage in a House committee on Wednesday.
The House Agriculture and Rural Development Committee on Wednesday approved House Bill 3202 by a vote of 11-3. It now goes to the full House.
More than 75 people, mostly horse owners, jammed into a committee room and part of an overflow room to show support for equine dentists.
Rep. Brian Renegar, a veterinarian and a committee member, said he is concerned equine dentists could be administering sedative drugs to treat horses without the supervision of a veterinarian.
"The teeth floaters over the last 10 years have had six injuries and one death from working on horses’ teeth,” said Renegar, D-McAlester. "Veterinarians who have worked on horses’ teeth have had zero deaths and zero injuries.”
Teeth in horses continue to grow. They should be filed down at least once a year to prevent sharp edges from cutting gums and to ensure horses are able to chew food properly.
Representatives of horse owners and trainers have said owners should have the right to choose who treats their horses.
The bill’s author, Rep. Don Armes, said there’s no guarantee horse owners, who can get prescriptions from their veterinarians, are using the drugs properly.
Politics Blog: Horse dental bill passes committee
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