Tag Archives: The Equine Practice

The Equine Practice: Tucker Technique of Equine Dentistry

We are developing a school for the Tucker Technique of Equine Dentistry.  This is the style of dentistry that many of you know about from seeing Melissa and I work on your horses.  I feel that this is in the best interest of horses and should be the standard for equine dentistry.

There are no schools teaching this style.  All the equine dentistry schools and veterinary schools are teaching the automatic drugging (and over-drugging) of horses, jacking open their mouths, and suspending their heads either on a head stand or from a sling anchored to the ceiling.  None of this is in the best interest of the horse.  Yet they all say that the result of what they do benefits the horse.

Does the end justify the means?

Our style of connecting with the horse, listening to them, seeking out where the teeth are bothering them, and working on the teeth of a willing and cooperative partner, is an effective approach that is in the best interest of the horse.  The results are as good, or even better, as any of those using the other approach promoted by the others – and better for the horse too.

I am promoting to the world the Tucker Technique of Equine Dentistry through a school I am developing and I need your help doing it.

Would you help this project by making a 30 to 60 second video testimonial?  In the video, please answer these 3 questions:

  1. How is our style of equine dentistry different from your past experiences of dentistry with your horse(s)?
  2. How did your horse respond to our approach and method?
  3. Why should the Tucker Technique of Equine Dentistry be the standard for dental care of horses in the future?

Just grab your iPhone or Droid or Windows phone and press video.  PLEASE HOLD THE PHONE SIDEWAYS (HORIZONTALLY or LANDSCAPE).

Be natural in your delivery (maybe a glass of wine will help!) and remember, there is no “Right” or “Correct” answer or response.

We are trying to tell the world, with all YOUR color, flavor, and character, why the Tucker Technique of Equine Dentistry is better for the horse AND is a very effective way to remove pain and correct eating and bridling problems in your horse.

When done, email the video to me at contact@dentistry.theequinepractice.com.

I am also willing to video you when I am at your barn.  But if you are camera shy, just take some notes, write a script, ask your friend to hold the camera, and take and re-take the video until you are comfortable.

I want to thank all of you who believe in the Tucker Technique of Equine Dentistry.  It is in the best interest of the horse and more people need to know about it.  More people need to learn how to do it.  It needs to become the standard of care for equine dentistry.

Please be advised that if you send me a video testimonial, you are giving me permission to use it (along with your name) publicly on the internet.  Further, there is no compensation for your efforts.  You are just helping us spread the word to the far reaches of the world.

Melissa and I are so grateful for your time on this.

Doc T

The Equine Practice Rounds, October 2013, by Geoff Tucker DVM


My eyes turned to the barn instinctively as I turned into the drive.  Every year for over ten years I had thought Penny would die of old age and so had the owners.  But her head was out the door located next to the barn door facing the road.  With her chest pressed against the stall webbing, she gazed out towards me driving towards the barn.  Her curiosity was piqued and her assurance that it wasn’t someone for her had been successfully camouflaged by the rental car, not the usual vet truck.

Penny’s age is anyone’s guess, but late 30s seems reasonable and 40s would not be argued against.  She’s not a big horse.  Her weight stays at a body condition score of 1 to 2 (very thin).  Her back has become swayed and her waist looks like a wasp.  Her hair coat remains shiny and healthy.  Her attitude has never wavered from opinionated and is hugely loved by her owners and Penny returns this love.

Over a decade has past that I have attended to her dentistry needs.  When we first met, her teeth were loose in their sockets as they struggled to remain in her mouth.  The razor sharp edges had prevented her tongue from freely moving about her mouth and thus she had lost her ability to clean and stimulate her teeth with it.  I have found this to be the primary reason for dental disease and tooth loss in the horse.  Once the sharp points are removed and the tongue goes back to work, the teeth in the horse become strongly attached in their sockets and gum disease is eliminated.  I struggle with the realization that no dentistry text or paper or presentation discusses this essential fact I have seen repeatedly over my three decades with horse teeth.

Penny was not excluded from the benefits of floating and her teeth improved immediately.  However, she had already lost some of her teeth and over my ten years with her, I extracted some more end-stage teeth.  But Penny has proven again my theory that the cheek teeth are necessary only for forming a bolus of food that is comfortable for swallowing.  If the food available is easy to swallow, then the teeth are less necessary.  And Penny’s owners have done a spectacular job caring for her.

This is where the love between Penny and her owners is stellar.  They have provided the best environment for Penny to continue to live.  This includes nutrition as well as all the good husbandry necessary to keep her happy and healthy.

I went to catch Penny and predictably she went to the back corner and put her nose to the ground.  “Come on Penny,” I said with a tone of a parent talking to a child going through their routine of avoidance.  “We’ve done this for a long time.  Have I ever hurt you?”

With that, she brought her head up and turned to me and said with her eyes, “Oh, I guess hiding doesn’t work with you.  Alright, let’s get this over with.”

And this is why everyone loves Penny.  With a mind as sharp as a tack, she keeps you in a conversation. However, the conversation now is only about her.  She’s old enough to deserve ALL the attention.

We love you Penny.  And after 40 years with horses and seeing the end of so many horses, it is my opinion you are not yet ready to die.  Not even close.  And when you do I’m sure you will be at your memorial party stirring up some mischief.

I always want to see your head when I drive up to the barn.


Itchy Tails and a Band of Broodmares, by Geoff Tucker

A cow statue on the lawn of a barn in NY

February in upstate New York is bleak and cold. Most of the sane people are indoors staying warm, but my profession only drove me into it. My small animal colleagues would complain of their drive into work, then commiserate with their clients about the weather outside as they stood comfortably in the clean, well lit, and very warm small animal exam room.

I stood in the hardened mud and feces of the holding pen as the freezing wind whipped my exposed face. My soon to be numb fingers took off my overcoat exposing my bare arms in my short sleeved shirt. It was my choice not to wear a long sleeve shirt because I never could roll up my left sleeve far enough for my morning of rectal palpations of the mares at this Standardbred farm.

If I thought my day was uncomfortable, I just looked at this herd of 20 mares living out in this winter bleakness. Many of them had foals at their sides. On the whole, they actually looked like they were comfortable with their long winter coats insulating them from the harshness. I started my first rectal of the year for these mares. The thought of my left fingers, hand, and arm getting warm was balanced with the thought of frostbite in my right. I slipped on my plastic sleeve and thoroughly applied lubricant to it. That’s when I noticed the frayed hairs of the tail head.

Continue reading Itchy Tails and a Band of Broodmares, by Geoff Tucker

The Equine Practice Rounds – Memorial Day

Every Memorial Day we honor the men and women sacrificing their lives for our freedom. I am humbled by their duty and unselfishness.

I also remember those horse owners and professionals who have lost their lives working with horses. I have selected this day in honor of Dr John Steiner who was my very first veterinarian mentor. On Memorial Day in 2008, this veterinarian of 40 years was struck down by a stallion he was working on. He died of trauma to the head.

On this Memorial Day, please wear your helmet when riding and consider wearing it whenever you are around a horse.

Doc T

Why Sugar Causes Deafness, by Geoff Tucker, DVM

It is almost impossible to imagine that these large muscular creatures we call horses get most of their energy from sugar. In my neck of the woods, I have not seen protein shakes for horses nor chicken tenders, though one of my clients does feed his horse chicken nuggets on occasion.

Sugar is served as cubes, apples, carrots, candy, all grain, and most hay and pasture. These are all sugar. Sugar needs insulin to be absorbed into the cells or it is lost. The two largest organs to use sugar are the brain followed by the skin, including the hooves.

Excess sugar is placed in holding cells including fat cells. This reserve is normal and necessary. Observations of feral horses show that horses fatten up before winter. Cattle that remains thin from summer draught stricken pastures die in the winter.

In the wild, the sugar intake ebbs and flows, but in domesticated horses, the sugar intake becomes constant. While the mechanism is still being accurately determined, it now is evident that chronic excess sugar intake can cause Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS). Signs include a cresty neck and fat deposits at the shoulders and tail head. Most significant is a rise in blood insulin levels and a strong predisposition for laminitis.

Continue reading Why Sugar Causes Deafness, by Geoff Tucker, DVM

Who Is Your Horse’s Advocate? by Geoff Tucker, DVM

Some of my clients don’t realize that I am a veterinarian. They think that I just float teeth.

Do you remember 1973? Many of you reading this were not yet born. Thanks to the movies though, many now know that 1973 was the year Secretariat won the Triple Crown. Here is an interesting fact many of you don’t know.

In the annual issue of Time magazine in 2000 where they usually announce the “Man of the Year”, the magazine decided to announce the “Event of the Century.” (As I write this, I am getting goose bumps!). Think of ALL the events from 1900 to 1999 – World Wars, the great depression, assassinations, The Beatles, and more. You have one guess what Time Magazine listed as the NUMBER ONE EVENT OF THE CENTURY….


That same year I had quit college and landed a job in Delaware, Ohio on a Saddlebred farm. It lasted for 3 months but I learned a lot. For instance, I learned how to treat colic.

Continue reading Who Is Your Horse’s Advocate? by Geoff Tucker, DVM