Say Neigh

By Bowdoin Magazine
Mobile equine dentist Carrie Niederman ’82 covers a lot of ground around Houston, Texas, tasked with the important work of keeping horses healthy, starting with their mouths. A biochemistry major at Bowdoin, she went on to complete a veterinary degree at the University of Pennsylvania, followed by an internship at Kansas State Veterinary School, and then trained under an equine dentist in Central Texas before hanging her own shingle, or hitching up her own trailer, as the case may be.
Carrie Niederman '82
Carrie Niederman '82. Photos: Todd Spoth

I perform routine oral exams on horses to identify problems with the eruption of permanent teeth in horses younger than five years old; to remove sharp enamel points that develop due to the side to side chewing motion of a horse, especially those horses not able to continually graze; to extract loose or diseased teeth; and to educate owners on the necessary diet changes needed for horses as they age and naturally lose the ability to grind effectively. Most people have no idea that a horse has twenty-four cheek teeth within its head!

My favorite part of what I do is simply being able to make a horse more comfortable so it can eat or ride better.

I give each patient a light sedative and use a portable stock, in which the horse can stand comfortably and safely during the examination.

I have never been bitten, but I have been hit in the head with a front leg of a horse that was scared of the needle used to deliver the sedative.

My family owned horses growing up. Just backyard trail horses. I have always been comfortable around them, which is why I enjoy working on them.

Secretariat is my favorite famous horse. His times in the various legs of the Triple Crown are so impressive—and at the age of three, he didn’t even have all of his permanent teeth!

When I'm not working, I enjoy bird watching and gardening.

If I had one more day to spend at Bowdoin, I spend it playing soccer out at Pickard Fields—which are much different now than when I was a student!

Bowdoin Magazine, Winter 2019
This story first appeared in the Winter 2019 issue of Bowdoin Magazine. Manage your subscription and see other stories here.