Your horse’s teeth – the gateway to equine health

Horse skull 2015

A photograph of a horse’s skull.

As the outdoor riding season is coming to an end, let’s talk about horses teeth!

We all know how important it is to have our teeth cleaned and checked by a Dentist every 6 months.  What you may not know is how important it is for your animals too.

Think of horses teeth being similar to that of a rodent or rabbit.  They continue to erupt throughout their life and are worn down by grazing.  “Horses with more concentrate feeds in their diet will develop sharp points faster than horses eating grass only.”  Grain supplements is an example of the most common concentrate feed given to horses.

Horse teeth 2015

A closer photograph of the line of horse’s teeth.

Did you know that dental issues can greatly affect a horse’s performance and demeanor?  I was not even aware of how much it could until we purchased our first horse this year.  She was a young horse that we were told had some dental issues.  Her original personality was sweet, but she seemed nervous and overreacted to things.  Upon having her mouth examined by the Veterinarian, it was discovered that the poor little lady had ulcers on the inside of her cheeks and on her tongue.  She had a complete 180 degree personality change after her teeth were floated and we could hear her chew for the first time!

Here is a list of “Traditionally recognized signs that your horse might have dental problems”:

  • Eating slowly
  • Slobbering
  • Head tilting
  • Quidding (Leaving behind cigar-like wads of grass or hay)
  • Dunking hay in water
  • Passing long fibers in manure
  • Weight loss
  • Fussing with the bit
  • Head tossing
  • Bit chewing
  • Refusing to take a lead or collect
  • Bucking
  • Subtle performance changes

It is important to note that not all horses will display any signs at all or only a few while other horses may show that they are in severe pain, but may only have mild dental issues.   Each horse is so different which is why a dental exam performed by a Veterinarian is imperative for their overall health.

If you have any concerns about your horses oral health, please call and schedule an appointment with Dr. Parrott, or use the website to set up an appointment right now.

Speak soon!

Crystal Sharp, CVT.