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Dog with tongue out

Mobile veterinarian emphasizes importance of equine dentistry


Reporter for the Big Bear (CA) Grizzly

Dr. Jacob Johnson, DVM, is all about horses. He cares about every inch of the equine for their health and to help their owners care for them as well.

Mojave River Equine Veterinary Service puts Johnson on the road to communities from Wrightwood to Baldy Mesa, Adelanto, Big Bear and Newberry Springs.. Have horse, he will travel, and that includes moseying to Big Bear Valley.

Johnson has offered equine veterinary services to his Big Bear clients for several years, first as an associate with Dr. Ron Lenhert and now on his own. Johnson opened Mojave River Equine in July 2011. Johnson takes his practice on the road with him. Instead of four walls, he delivers on four wheels.

Inside his mobile unit, Johnson can provide dentistry, dermatology, hoof care, lab services, neurology, oncology, radiology and more. He can read X-rays on a computer. He diagnoses and treats in the field. Johnson also offers lameness, pre-purchase and wellness exams, along with coggins and health certificates. He also does the routine preventative procedures such as vaccinations, deworming and check ups. About the only thing he doesn’t do, Johnson says, is breeding.

It all started in his junior year in high school, Johnson says. He had an interest in animal health, but narrowed his focus to equines exclusively. He attended Cal Poly Pomona then headed to the University of Illinois for veterinary school. Grad school involved a lot of hands-on experience, Johnson says. He had the opportunity to participate in externships in Nevada, Texas, Wisconsin and Kentucky, as well as South and Central America.

While Johnson provides all equine medical services, he is passionate about equine dentistry. Preventative dentistry is key to the overall health of a horse, Johnson says. Many medical issues stem from problems with a horse’s teeth or jaw.

Johnson says one of his clients bought a barrel horse who was unruly. The horse was for sale and the price continued to drop due to its attitude. Johnson could see the swelling on the horse’s cheek, and once he remedied the problem so the horse could adequately chew its food, its attitude also improved, he says.

Horse owners make sure their animals have routine farrier visits. Dental checkups and care should be just as routine, he says. Johnson says he likes to see results and see the animal feel better, which is one of the reasons he is so passionate about his clients and their dental care.

Equine dentistry is more cutting edge. It’s progressive veterinary medicine, Johnson says. He is big on continuing education, and focuses a lot on the dental conferences.

Gary Cecil of Big Bear City is a new client of Johnson’s. “Besides begin an extremely good veterinarian, I like him as a person,” Cecil says about Johnson. “He really cares about horses and their welfare.”

Cecil says Johnson takes all the time necessary to explain your horse’s needs and answer questions. Johnson also makes recommendations for better health and care, Cecil says.

Johnson is usually in Big Bear on Thursdays, but will make a special trip for emergency visits. He does have the ability to see patients in Apple Valley, where he plans to build a brick and mortar practice. He carries pharmacy and vet products with him as well as supplements.

Clients can share the house/ranch call fee by setting up dental or routine wellness clinics at one location. Multiple animals can be seen at one time, saving the client money and the doctor travel time.

To make an appointment, call Mojave River Equine Veterinary Service at 760-247-4024 or visit

Contact reporter Judi Bowers at 909-866-3456, ext. 137 or by email at

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