Straight from the horse's mouth - How to take care of your horse's teeth
Posted July 07, 2017
One of the many responsibilities of horse
ownership is providing your horse with proper dental care. Dr.
Cleet Griffin, clinical associate professor of Equine Field
Services at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine &
Biomedical Sciences, said regular dental check-ups will protect
your horse’s overall health, comfort, and well-being.
“Important dental procedures for horses include an oral
examination and floating, the process of smoothing sharp enamel
points on the teeth,” Griffin said. “Horses between 1 and 5 years
old should have a dental exam twice a year, and mature horses
should be examined once a year.”
Regular dental check-ups are the best way to protect your
horse’s health, but sometimes oral health concerns, such as broken
teeth or periodontal disease, can arise between appointments. In
this case, more frequent exams and treatments may be necessary.
Griffin said some signs of dental disease in horses include
slobbering more than usual, having difficulty chewing hay, and a
foul odor coming from the mouth. If your horse is showing these
symptoms, contact your veterinarian.
Additionally, other threats to your horse’s dental health can
arise, such as cribbing, the act of biting down on a fixed object
and gulping in air.
“Cribbing can cause excessive wear of the incisor teeth,”
Griffin said. “However, it doesn’t generally interfere with eating
and chewing. It can be destructive to stall panels, fence rails,
and buckets where the horse bites down, though.”
Griffin added that it is uncertain why some horses begin to
crib, but the general consensus is that the behavior may be a
horse’s attempt to pacify stress resulting from boredom, inadequate
roughage intake, or confinement.
As a horse owner, it is your responsibility to take care of your
horse’s teeth so they can live a long, healthy life. Be sure to
give your horse a reason to smile by scheduling its next dental
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