Little Rock, Ark.—Legislation introduced in Arkansas would exclude animal husbandry from the veterinary practice act and would allow lay professionals
to perform acupuncture, chiropractic and veterinary dentistry on agricultural animals under the supervision of a veterinarian.
Pre-filed in December, the legislation seeks to reclassify equine teeth floating as a husbandry procedure.
"Animal husbandry means the branch of agriculture and animal science specifically related to the care, breeding, management
and marketing of bovine, caprine, equine, porcine, poultry and other farm animals," the legislation states.
Teeth floating, as defined by the legislation, would include:
- Removal of enamel points.
- Extraction of deciduous and vestigial teeth.
- Smoothing, contouring and leveling of dental arcades and incisors.
As reported in DVM Newsmagazine, the controversial issue of allowing non-veterinarians to float teeth erupted in neighboring Texas in late 2010. In fact,
the Texas Veterinary Medical Association (TVMA) renewed calls for legislation to limit the practice of equine dentistry to
veterinarians or those professionals under a veterinarian's direct supervision. The core issue, according to TVMA officials,
focuses on the definition of veterinary dentistry, and it needs to be addressed by lawmakers in the state.
"As a teacher who looks at end-stage problems in a horse's mouth, dentistry is more than filing sharp points on teeth," says
Peter Rakestraw, DVM, a soft-tissue surgeon at Texas A&M University and board member of TVMA about the equine dentistry issue
in Texas. "How you manage the teeth, gums and associated structures has a profound effect on the health of the horse, its
performance and well-being," he says.
In Arkansas, the proposed legislation would allow these procedures (performed for compensation) on agricultural animals:
- ear notching
- tail docking
- teeth floating
- hoof care
- pregnancy checking
- collecting, preparing or freezing semen
- artificial insemination
- counsel on nutrition, feeds or feeding.
This exemption for lay professionals would not apply to canines or felines and does not include the administration of sedatives.