New textbook is first comprehensive guide to horse dentistry

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- A dental exam is more than just parting the lips, looking at incisors and feeling around with a finger. For years, such was the method for horses. Easily missed were developing cases of malaligned incisors, ulceration, deepening pockets and other common periodontal troubles.

Now regular, thorough checkups can become normal operating procedure, says Gordon Baker, professor of equine medicine and surgery at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. Baker is the co-editor of the just-published textbook "Equine Dentistry," the first comprehensive guide on what he calls an "elegantly designed food-processing unit."

"In recent years, there has been a greater interest in equine veterinarians taking charge and control of dental management in the horse," Baker said. "But the knowledge base has been rather slim. There has been a lot of ignorance from a sheer lack of sound knowledge. This book straightens out a lot of errors, concerns, myths and legends about dental morphology, function and anatomy of the horse."

The hardbound book -- published by the W.B. Saunders Co. and geared for veterinarians, veterinary students and serious horse owners -- pulls together scientific literature and puts the information in an easy-to-follow 278-page format that includes 365 illustrations.

As the book began shipping in mid-September, Baker was in Great Britain and France talking teeth to the British Equine Veterinary Association and the World Equine Veterinary Association. In January 2000, Baker and co-editor Jack Easley, a veterinarian in Shelbyville, Ky., will conduct a short course at the U. of I., with plenty of on-hands laboratory work, on equine dentistry for veterinarians.

Baker illustrates a common problem to students using lettuce leaves and peanuts to show the difference between grazing and being grain-fed in stables. Lettuce allows horses to slide their teeth naturally with a healthy motion, whereas peanuts requir

Contact: Jim Barlow, Life Sciences Editor
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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