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Dental Care

Dental hygiene is an important part of routine healthcare for your horse, pony or donkey. Your horses’ teeth should be checked every 6 months- 1 year, unless you are suspicious of problems. As veterinary surgeons we are able to provide sedation, pain relief and local anaesthetic to make any dental procedures thorough, efficient and comfortable for your horse.

Common Dental Problems:

  • Sharp points (enamel overgrowths)
  • Gum ulceration
  • Gaps inbetween teeth (Diastemata)
  • Misaligned teeth
  • Fractured teeth

Horses’ teeth grow continuously during their lifetime at a rate of 2-3mm per year. This is equivalent to the rate of wear from the high fibre diet that horses eat. In order for horses teeth to keep growing at this rate they have a large reserve crown (the portion held within the gum).

There is therefore a finite amount of tooth available; usually lasting the horse between 30-40years. If, however, the teeth aren’t regularly maintained they will wear out sooner and as we are all aware- no tooth, no horse!

Signs of Dental Disease

  • Dropping half chewed food (Quidding)
  • Bad breath
  • Reluctance to bend one way under saddle
  • Weight loss
  • Colic

The Dental Exam

Our vets perform all dental work using a gag or speculum; we have a large gag for horses and a small gag for foals, ponies and donkeys. A light source is used to help identify any problems in your horse’s mouth and any necessary treatment will be carried out. Our vets can use a range of hand rasps or a battery operated power tool.

If you have noticed any of the symptoms listed above or have any concerns, please arrange with one of the equine team to have your horses’ mouth examined.