Regulators seek to put the bite on equine dentistry

December 28th, 2009

“It’s like saying you need to become an architect in order to work as a carpenter,” says Tom Allen, who floats horses’ teeth for a living and also happens to be a licensed veterinarian. Allen, quoted from a front-page article by Stephanie Simon in today’s Wall Street Journal, is voicing his concern about veterinary oversight boards in Texas and several other states that aim to put “unlicensed” floaters out of business.

The concern is the safety of patients in the hands of floaters who may use power tools and sedate animals. According to attorney Clark Neily, who wants to block overregulation, forced licensing of equine teeth floaters could open the door for licensing of all manner of cowboy jobs, such as bull castrators, or cattle dehorners, not to mention other fields.

To read the article and view a video of Texas floater Carl Mitz, who has been at his job for over 25 years, click here or go to

WSJ photo by Eli Meir Kaplan