Expert dental care for your horse
Equine dental science has progressed enormously over recent years, and our team of equine vets have all received advanced dental training to ensure we can give your horse the very best in dental care.
Whether your horse requires a routine rasp or treatment for dental disease, our experienced equine vets have the knowledge, experience, and the latest equipment to perform a thorough and comprehensive examination of your horse’s mouth and teeth. This can then be followed by safe and effective dental treatment.
Should your horse be nervous or agitated, our equine vets are legally able to administer sedation to allow a stress-free and safe experience for them.
Routine preventative equine dental care
Routine dental care is an essential part of your horse’s wellbeing and is primarily about preventative care. The aim of routine dental care is to:
- Maintain an effective surface for your horse to chew forage – without this, your horse cannot digest food normally and may suffer weight loss and in some cases colic.
- Allow your horse to wear a bridle without pain or discomfort – many cases of poor ridden performance or evasive behaviour are caused by dental problems.
- Prevent dental disease from developing.
Your horse’s teeth continually erupt throughout their life and wear down as they chew. The natural shape of your horse’s mouth may cause sharp points to develop, which can lead to ulcers developing on the inside of the cheeks and tongue. Dental examinations are recommended every 6-12 months.
Routine dental care involves:
- Examination of your horse’s head and movement of the jaws.
- Visual inspection inside the mouth looking at the surfaces and edges of the teeth and gums with a dental mirror and probe, to identify any sharp points or other signs of dental disease.
- Removal of sharp enamel points, known as rasping.
Other minor surgical procedures such as the removal of normal wolf teeth and deciduous caps, can also be performed at the time.
Equine dental disease
Horses are incredibly good at hiding dental pain and disease, and the signs often go unnoticed. Commonly encountered symptoms of equine dental disease include:
- Dropping hay or grass when eating
- Weight loss
- Reluctance to eat
- Head shaking
- Evasive behaviour when ridden
- Poor performance
- Difficulty eating hard treats such as carrots
- Swellings on the jaws or face
Some examples of dental diseases include:
- Fractured teeth – often a broken tooth will go unnoticed, but it can lead to pulp disease or cause ulcers in the mouth.
- Pulp disease – the pulp is the sensitive part of the tooth and is normally covered by a protective layer. If the pulp becomes exposed it can become infected, which is painful and causes the tooth to die.
- Gingivitis – this is when the gums are inflamed and painful. It is often seen with other dental diseases, and when chewed food packs abnormally between or against the teeth.
- Diastema – this is a gap between 2 teeth which food may pack into during chewing. This can lead to gingivitis and periodontal disease, which can be very painful and may result in the tooth needing to be extracted.
- Periodontal disease – when a gap forms between the tooth and gum, food packs into this pocket and causes periodontal disease. This is extremely painful for the horse and if left untreated, can lead to premature loss of the tooth.
Advanced Dentistry Services
We are fully equipped to investigate any symptoms of dental disease in your yard, thanks to our mobile diagnostics equipment. We often use a dental oroscope, which is a small camera, to look in the mouth so we can examine the teeth and gums in more detail. In some cases, we also use the latest digital radiography technology to create x-rays of the mouth and teeth.
Some dental diseases can be treated and managed effectively in your yard, but if this is not the case, we can refer your horse to a specialist equine hospital for more extensive treatment if necessary.
If you’re concerned that your horse has any symptoms or problems relating to dental disease, please call us to arrange a visit and dental examination.