Horse Dentistry – Common Ailments and How to Prevent Them

by on 01/11/09 at 5:30 pm

Horses dental requirements are much the same as most animals with the same common ailments, affecting a horse’s teeth and jaw. When it comes to ailments and injuries that affect a horse, most of the time the cause can either be attributed to wear patterns, injury or poor health with treatments made accordingly.

Common problems that can arise include uneven wear patterns creating sharp edges, cracked teeth, wolf teeth, abscesses, step mouth, overbite, under bite, curvature of the incisors and the various types of common wear patterns.

Signs of possible dental problems with individual teeth

There are a number signs that an equine carer should keep a look out for when it comes to determining whether or not your horse is suffering from any dental issues. They can either be behavioural, performance or physical. In terms of performance, if the temperament of your horse alters or it appears unwilling to behave as it normally would, the teeth may be one of the easiest places to rule out first for health issues.

Behaviour or performance issues can appear as refusal to partake in activities it would normally enjoy or resistance on riding with bucking or head tossing. Other common signs include loss of appetite or reduced eating, weight loss, excess saliva or blood in the mouth, colic and facial swelling.

Prevention techniques

While all these problems are potentially severe for the horse, there are a number of techniques and tips that every equine caring should employ to minimise or even prevent any dental issues. For starters, have the horse’s teeth inspected by a veterinarian at regular intervals, basically whenever the horse has their vet check up there should always be a thorough inspection of their jaw and dental alignment.

Besides these regular veterinarian checkups, horses should undergo the floating process once a year on average depending on their age. The floating process is where the surface of the tooth is filed down to remove any sharp edges and quite common across the years of a horses life for various reasons, either as teeth are developing or as molar’s are being lost.

Choosing a Horse Dentist

Unfortunately the industry of horse dentistry has lead to many unqualified people believing they can handle any dental issues that may arise. When looking for a horse dentist, or an equine veterinarian, be sure to enquire into their credentials for certification from an accredited/reputable equine dentistry school. This means that they have all applicable certifications from an equine dental association or body and operates in a quality and safe environment.

Overall horse dentistry is more a matter of prevention is better than cure with constant maintenance and health check being an ideal way to ensure your horse remains in strong optimal health.

G. Brown is a writer for, an Australian horse directory. To find more information on horses, products, suppliers and other horse gears, please visit today.

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