Regular dental care plays a vital role in maintaining your horse’s health. At Del Oeste Equine Hospital, we recommend a thorough annual dental examination for all horses. Horses performing at high levels or horses with severe dental problems should be examined twice yearly.
In the adult horse, normal wear of the teeth causes razor sharp points that can lacerate the tongue and cheeks, and cause chewing to be painful or incomplete. If not corrected, this wear worsens every year and can lead to tooth decay.
Treatment is a two-step process:
- Floating — grinding or filing down these harmful sharp edges, using state-of-the-art dental equipment.
- Equilibration (literally, “making equal”) — balancing the dental arcades to optimize chewing and performance.
Other common dental issues that can be detected by regular examination include:
- “Wolf teeth” — peg-like premolars — occur in about 50% of young horses. Because they interfere with proper seating of the bit, they’re normally extracted at 18-24 months of age, before bridle training.
- Abnormal growth of the jaw or teeth can cause permanent damage and prevent normal chewing.
- Loose or protruding teeth may interfere with chewing and sometimes cause the horse to choke. When we’re called for a choking emergency, we always check the teeth.
For more detailed information here’s an article on equine dental care from our blog. And, of course, feel free give our veterinary staff a call with any questions.