Smitten with horses (and their teeth)

By Camille FratiGilles Kayser Switch to French for original article

For the past seven years, Yamina Khomri has been visiting the country's stables to examine the teeth of horses and donkeys. More than a job that is still unknown, it is above all her passion and a dose of well-being for both her patients and herself.

Equine dental technician. Three words that we understand but that we are not used to seeing together and which moreover designate a still unknown profession. "It's a separate profession from that of the veterinarian“, explains Yamina Khomri, one of the only two to practice this profession in Luxembourg. "You have to know that horses' teeth grow throughout their lives, at a speed that depends on the age of the horse, just like hair and nails for humans. If the horse has a very balanced diet like wild horses, i.e. 18 hours of chewing per day and access to a diverse diet that also includes brambles, branches – sufficiently abrasive foods – its teeth will grow steadily." However, there are few wild horses left – traditionally in the Camargue, southern France, and the Pyrenees – although several have been reintroduced in the Vosges or near Cologne in Germany.

For domesticated horses that do not eat enough abrasive food, the teeth are not filed down and grow out of control. The dental technician then intervenes "mainly to level these teeth, i.e. to remove the enamel points that lacerate the inside of the horse's mouth and make chewing extremely painful.

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