One of the most important parts of equine care is ensuring your horse’s teeth are strong, clean and healthy. This will help them to feel happier and perform better but just how should you look after your horse’s teeth?
Although they don’t require as much attention as those of humans, keeping an eye on their development and watching out for any problems is a must if you want to avoid issues like periodontal disease, infections and unnecessary pain.
Dental care for young horses
Though most horses have healthy mouths and teeth as foals, there are some congenital issues like “parrot mouth” and “sow mouth” that you need to watch out for. If you notice any abnormalities in your horses jaw, it’s a good idea to call an equine dentist and get the issue sorted before it becomes more serious.
Like humans, horses loose their baby teeth after a few years. Though this normally doesn’t cause any problems, in some cases the adult teeth can become impacted and infections can occur.
Watching out for symptoms like drooling or foaming, bad odour, head tossing, messy eating and carrying the head to one side will help you to spot any issues before they have time to escalate.
Dental care for mature horses
As horse’s teeth continue to grow throughout their lives, they need to be worn down in order to prevent serious dental issues. In the wild, horses eat a lot of roughage and this helps to keep their teeth at a healthy length.
In order to keep your domestic horse’s teeth in check, you’ll need to employ a horse dentist to file down your horses teeth on a fairly regular basis. Left untreated, teeth can become sharp and impractical, causing painful lesions on the tongue and cheek.
This practice of filing the teeth is known as “floating” and should be done at least once a year. Occasionally horses can grow extra teeth (like wisdom teeth in adult humans) but these can be easily removed by an equine dentist and shouldn’t cause too many problems.
Dental care for older horses
As they age, a horse can encounter more difficulties with their health. Keeping an eye on their teeth is a big part of horse health and you may notice older horses lose their teeth – just like us.
This can make it very difficult for horses to chew food and can cause them to drool and spill grain as they eat. To help your horse get the nutrients it needs, you can invest in easy to eat feed or make a softened mash of tasty food.
If you think your horse is struggling to eat or not getting the nutrition it needs, your vet should be able to advise you on the best remedies to counteract this.
By watching out for the signs and symptoms of equine dental issues and getting your horse’s teeth checked by a vet on a regular basis, you can avoid any serious health issues and prevent any problems that do occur from becoming more serious.