At Hornsby Heights Vet Hospital we offer reliable and affordable veterinary services to cover all pets, big and small, including horses in Hornsby and surrounding areas.
Equine dental care can be difficult to manage or monitor if you are not sure what to look for, yet no other area of veterinary medicine has such a significant impact on your horse’s overall health and quality of life. Like humans, many major body infections may start out as nasty oral diseases that could be avoided with regular preventive health care.
Once a dental problem starts, it rarely corrects itself and usually progresses causing issues to other teeth and oral tissues. Routine dental care is important to identify and correct dental problems as early as possible.
Equine dental care should be performed no less than once a year, or more regularly if a problem has been found or even suspected.
A high percentage of horses suffer from dental disease as it can be difficult to diagnose. However, there are signs from your horse’s behaviour that may indicate it’s time to get them checked out. If they tend to chew with difficulty, dropping or dribbling much of the food, shake their head or show frustration towards food, spit out wads of stems, sucking on food rather than chewing it completely, if their jaw muscles appear to be different sizes, they have overshot or undershot teeth and more.
There are many reasons why horses may develop dental problems or diseases but it generally comes down to their domestic feeding habits. While processed foods (grain and hay) and soft pastures are not particularly a problem for horses, it does mean they aren’t able to graze the same way or as often as if they were living in the wild.
Enclosures also limit horses which can create dry lot conditions where there is less plant material available to graze. Deviating from their natural grazing patterns can lead to decreased or abnormal chewing and result in abnormal wear patterns (dental malocclusions) and severe health and dental problems. This is why equine dental care is essential to monitor your horse’s teeth, gums, cheeks and mouth and catch problems early.
The good news is that like all dentistry, equine dental care is constantly improving and being more manageable with the addition of new research, products and procedures.