Goals of the IGFP
Even rounding off a few tooth edges often brings a significant improvement in a horse’s well-being, as this procedure relieves some of the animal’s discomfort. In most cases, however, it is not enough.
For the benefit of our horses in Germany, as elsewhere, we therefore need to achieve a quality of dental treatment that takes into account the balance of the horse’s mouth from the perspective of anatomical functionality. In particular, it is important to restore a correct chewing action in order to maintain the health of the dentition and the animal as a whole.
To put it in simple terms, the care of a horse’s mouth can be compared with the care of its hooves. If hooves are not attended to properly and on a regular basis, they wear unevenly and the horse’s movements become unbalanced. In the longer term, this inevitably leads to misalignments and lameness. To prevent this, regular correction by the farrier or hoof care specialist is an accepted part of caring for a horse.
Failure to carry out dental treatments, or performing them incorrectly, can lead to abnormal wear on the teeth, which may leave the horse unable to chew properly. This can result in significant damage throughout the body. Premature tooth loss is another possible consequence. This can be prevented by an expert equine dental check-up with appropriate treatment, carried out once or twice a year. Proper equine dental training, covering every aspect of the horse’s dentition, its functions and its effects on the horse as a whole (e.g. digestion, feed utilisation, rideability), was available in Germany only up until 1940. The basics of German equine dentistry were originally developed and taught by one Dr Becker at the University of Hanover. This knowledge was unfortunately lost in the Second World War and now survives only in fragments taught at German universities. The quality of equine dental care in Germany ranks among the poorest in the world. Since being founded in 2001, the IGFP has successfully made it its mission to ensure that dental treatment is no longer seen as a poor relation in equine medicine and to focus more attention on the importance of qualified equine dentistry, both in academic circles and among horse owners.
For many years, a “specialisation in equine dentistry” could be gained in just one or two weekend seminars.
In the IGFP’s view, such training is far from adequate. Equine dental practitioners permitted to display the IGFP logo have passed theoretical and practical examinations proving that they have successfully completed an extended period of well-founded, high-quality training.
This training usually takes place at special centres such as the Horse Dental School in Germany or schools in the US such as the Academy of Equine Dentistry in Idaho or the American School of Equine Dentistry. Future IGFP equine dental practitioners can also become apprenticed to experienced certified IGPF colleagues or specialists such as Louis Pequin in Canada.
Equine dentistry in Germany needs to return to a standard of quality that benefits the health and rideability of our horses.
The IGFP has enshrined this goal in its articles of association. The members listed on this website have passed a voluntary examination intended to certify the quality of their work and equivalent to the US and Canadian standards.