A horse’s teeth are the first step in processing and digesting feed. A healthy mouth and teeth play an important role in the health and nutritional well-being of all horses and donkeys. Horse’s teeth are continually growing throughout their lifetime and are constantly being worn down through the grinding action of eating. Horses chew in a circular pattern, which when combined with continuous wear, results in sharp points being formed on the edges of the teeth. [emember_protected custom_msg=”Click here and register now to read the rest of the article!”] Every horse will need dental care throughout their life to keep them comfortable while eating and healthy overall.
If your horse displays any number of the following problems then you should ask your veterinarian to carry out an oral examination.
- • Quidding (chewing and dropping food from the mouth)
- • Slow eating
- • Weight loss
- • Halitosis (bad breath)
- • Increased production of saliva
- • Headshaking, behavioral or bitting concerns
- • Discharge from one nostril
- • Change in facial symmetry
It is recommended that a qualified person perform dental work on your horse. The horse must be quiet and calm for a thorough oral examination and placement of a mouth speculum. Most horses require sedation which, by law, must be done by a veterinarian. The frequency of routine dental care varies with each horse, its age and medical history. Prevention is always better than fixing a problem, so please discuss your horse’s requirements with your veterinarian.
column by DR. KATIE HENNESSY
BIO: Dr. Katie Hennessy graduated from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine in 2008 with a degree in large animal health and equine medicine. After completing an advanced internship and working as an Associate Veterinarian, she is currently practicing at Polk Equine, LLC. Her expertise ranges from small and exotic creatures to large animals, specializing in equine medicine.[/emember_protected]