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Vet Gazette

Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine eNewsletter

3000 Teeth in 3 Days Gives Students Plenty of Hands-On Experience

May 9th, 2014

DentalGroupThe OSU College of Veterinary Medicine has a national reputation for offering students a wealth of experiential learning. Last week’s Equine Dental Elective was another great opportunity for students to get their hands on animals.

Dr. Jacob Mecham and Dr. Mike Huber teach the elective and invited the Boys Scouts and OSU Polo Club to bring in their horses for low-cost dental care. “We have been working with the Boy Scouts of America for a few years now,” says Mecham. “It is a great opportunity for the college to give back to the community.  We also have helped the OSU Polo Club by having their horses in the course for the last two years.  Dentals otherwise have been too cost prohibitive for the club.” CVM staff and students are also invited to bring their horses.

After attending several days of lectures and labs, students in the class met out at the barn and spent three days performing 79 dentals. “This whole class was incredibly valuable.” says student Samantha Hunt. “It taught us a focused skill set and then provided us with enough hands on practical applications and experience for us to become confident advertising our abilities in equine dentistry.”

Elsbeth Centola and Melissa Mercer, Class of 2014, are very serious about equine dental health.

Elsbeth Centola and Melissa Mercer,
Class of 2014, are very serious about
equine dental health.

Students also appreciated the chance to learn about and handle different dental equipment. “The biggest take away I had from the elective was feeling comfortable and confident in both the technique of using a wide variety of dental equipment but also building confidence in my diagnostic and treatment plans for each individual mouth,” says student Elsbeth Centola. “With this elective being so hands on, and each of us seeing a large case load, we have learned what type and style of equipment each of us prefers. I think this gives us a real leg-up as new grads so we can tell our employers what equipment we need to do the highest quality dentals possible.”

Drs. Mecham and Huber say the primary objective of this course is to make students proficient in modern and advanced dentistry. “It is my belief that we can better the overall health of horses in the community by educating students who are moving into the private sector and, in some cases, “up” the level of dentistry being performed.,” says Mecham.

“I would absolutely recommend this elective to anyone interested in working with horses during their career,” adds Centola.

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