Hello, I’m Jodi Williams an equine dental technician working towards becoming a fully qualified member of the British Association of Equine Dental Technicians (BAEDT). Last year I completed a 3 year BSc (Hons) degree in equine dental science which passes me for the theoretical element of the BAEDT exam; however in order to pass the practical (clinical) examination, I still need to complete a considerable amount of work experience which includes collecting 300 case studies signed off by vets and fully qualified equine dental technicians. I am very lucky to have the opportunity to complete a large part of my work experience with Lee and Gemma, the equine dentists at the donkey sanctuary The Donkey Sanctuary.
As a work experience student, The Donkey Sanctuary provides me with a unique opportunity to train alongside highly qualified professionals in various equestrian vocations. For an equine dentistry student this offers me an invaluable learning experience by providing me with top class training and guidance from equine dentists and vets that have been working in this field for many years. It is also an amazing opportunity to use, observe and learn alongside the excellent facilities and equipment the veterinary hospital at The Donkey Sanctuary has to offer, such as x-ray and endoscopy equipment. This develops me as an equine dentist by building a comprehensive understanding of equine anatomy, physiology and dental pathology which will allow me to make better decisions regarding diagnosis and treatments in the future.
Since working at the Sanctuary, I have been working with Gemma and Lee the two full time dentists. They have been extremely supportive and since working with them my confidence has improved substantially.
Each day is different for the dentists and usually very busy with so many donkeys to look after. I often get the opportunity to perform lots of routine dental work, usually with Gemma assessing my work. Routine dental treatment on a donkey involves rasping teeth to remove any sharp enamel points or over growths. This is what the majority of my time is spent doing but occasionally I have had the opportunity to fill the odd diastema (a gap between teeth that can get food stuck in and cause gum disease and pain) or extract the odd loose tooth as the vets are always on hand to oversee, which is exciting stuff!
Many donkeys admitted have severe dental disease or have not had their annual check up for many years so are in need of more advanced treatment. It is heart breaking to see a donkey suffering, however I definitely get that warm fuzzy feeling if I know I may have contributed to a donkey’s recovery and it has given me the opportunity to observe and work with some very advanced cases of dental pathology I may not have had the opportunity to see otherwise.
So far I have had a lot of fun at The Donkey Sanctuary and enjoy working in equine dentistry immensely. I would like to say a massive thank you to the veterinary department, especially Gemma and Lee for putting up with me over the last few months and for their continued support.
Once Jodi has completed her BAEDT exam she hopes to work as a fully qualified private equine dentist. You can learn more about Jodi and the equine dental services she offers on her own website - www.jodiwilliams.co.uk.