Dentistry is a vital part of the routine care of your horse. Agnew Equine would recommend that your horse’s teeth are examined at least once a year; however some individuals with specific abnormalities may benefit from more regular examinations.
All the vets at Agnew Equine are experienced in dentistry and are equipped with gags, head torches, mirrors and a selection of hand rasps to deal with routine cases.
Why is Routine Dental Care Essential?
- Horses’ teeth erupt (do not grow) over most of the horses life at a rate of 2-3mm/year.
- The lower jaw of the horse is narrower than the upper jaw which can predispose to the development of sharp enamel points on the outside (buccal) aspect and inside (lingual) aspect of the cheek teeth.
- The rate of eruption is normally balanced out by the rate of wear achieved from the horses’ natural circular chewing action when eating large volumes of grass and fibre.
- Feeding increased levels of concentrate feed and lower quantities of fibre will results in a reduced chewing action, causing less wear and can lead to dental overgrowths and sharp enamel points that can cause ulcers and lacerations to the tongue and inside of the mouth.
- The sharp enamel points can be made increasingly more painful by bridles and bits which press against the sharp points.
- When a horse works on the bit it needs to be able to drop the lower jaw forward, which any overgrown teeth will prevent.
How do I know if my horses’ teeth need attention?
Signs of dental problems:
- Dropping food (quidding)
- Weight loss
- Evading the bit/head tossing when ridden
- Nasal discharge/facial swelling
- Colic /choke
Will my horse be sedated?
We may often use sedation to allow a more thorough examination of your horses’ mouth with the mirror and to cause less stress for both you and your horse. As veterinary surgeons we are also able to provide any pain relief and tetanus cover your horse may require following treatment.
We recommend your horses teeth are checked at least once a year.