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TRTREATING EVERY HORSE

Just as your horse's hooves require trimming every few months, their teeth require filing, usually once a year. From Harness to Pony club, miniature to performance, all horses require regular dental treatment.

 

DENTAL TREATMENT IN EQUINES IS PART OF BASIC HORSECARE. This includes horses and donkeys of all ages and sizes. Waiting years until problems develop is not the best outcome for your equine

 

 

SCA campdrafter Hayley Hinchliffe and 'BEN'           Miniature Mediterranean donkey 'MAGNITO'

WHY DO HORSE'S TEETH REQUIRE FILING?

Your horse's teeth are an important first step in its digestive mechanism. Once your horse picks up its feed with its lips and front teeth (incisors) healthy functioning molars are then required to grind your horse's feed into a pulp (bolus) suitable for swallowing.

Horses teeth emerge about 3-4mm every year to make up for the abrasive wear of eating grass. If their teeth do not wear adequetely due to the type of feed we provide and the way that each individual horse uses its jaw, sharp edges or uneven tooth levels soon develop.

Equine dentists file the outside edges of the top molars and the inside edges of the lower molars so that :

  1. The tables of the horse's teeth continue to wear evenly and are able to grind food properly
  2. The horse's cheeks are not lacerated (cut) by the sharp edges making it painful to chew and when ridden
  3. Any irregularities in the jaw movement  do not cause some teeth to become longer than they should. Extended teeth and hooks cause problems for the opposing teeth and impair proper chewing.
  4. Feed conversion remains efficient and feed is not wasted
  5. Feed is not retained in the mouth due to sharp edges causing significant gum and tooth health problems over time
  6. Tooth levels remain even enabling your horse to eat well when it ages

HOWEVER THE GOLDEN RULE:

Filing must consider the horses ability to grind its feed. Filing should never leave the teeth smooth so as to damage the rough occlusal surfaces required for proper grinding of feed

FEED AND YOUR HORSE

  • Aged horses have different nutritional requirements, upon dental treatment you will be given an idea of what your horse is able to eat and nutritional advice.
  • Colic is often caused by dental problems. As your horse is unable to grind its feed adequetely large wads are swallowed which can cause colic. Dental treatment will include advice on what food your horse can successfully manage to grind.

  • Horses teeth are designed to eat grass and other herbage. In a domesticated environment they often have restricted access to grass due to space issues, competition and drought.
  • Your horse's teeth will wear best when on good pasture.
  • Horses that are fed hay or regular hard feed will require more frequent dental treatment as these feeds will not wear your horses teeth in the same way as grass, resulting in sharp edges and uneven wear.
  • Hard times such as drought cause changes in feeding routines. With the increased cost of feed, dental treatment will ensure your horse is getting the most out of the feed available

 

The Young Horse- from birth to 5 years

The 3 1/2 year old mouth showing central upper incisors in wear, the adjacent permanent molars erupted and the corner incisors still deciduous

  • From birth to 18 months a free dental check up is available to examine the young horse's mouth for regularity of bite and tooth eruption
  • Dental treatment begins at about 18 months of age, ideally once the horse has been mouthed. Treatment is recommended around the time the horse is being educated so that dental problems do not impair your horse's progress
  • At around 2 1/2 years of age your young horse will begin to shed its deciduous incisors and molars.

DENTAL CHECKUPS EVERY 3-6 MONTHS UP UNTIL THE AGE OF 5 MAY BE NECESSARY TO ENSURE ERUPTION IS REGULAR AND CAPS (REMAINDERS OF BABY TEETH) ARE EXTRACTED

 

From 5 - 20 years of age

 

AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN A POUND OF CURE!

* For horses at pasture, treatment every 12-18 monthS is recommended

* Horses consuming regular hard feed may require 6-9 month appointments

 

 

 

YOUR HORSE IS NOW RACING, BEING SHOWN, COMPETING, BEING RIDDEN FOR PLEASURE OR PONYCLUB, OR PERHAPS BREEDING

In these years sharp edges will continue to develop and any irregularities in your horse's bite will effect its teeth.Your horse's teeth will continue to emerge, and will change with age and wear.

Regular treatment will help keep your horse in good condition by making the most of the feed you provide. Proper filing will ensure feed is not packed in the mouth for long periods of time causing long term gum disease. 

Dental treatment will also insure problems in the mouth are adressed and do not create issues when your horse is worked.

Most dental problems are able to be managed with proper regular treatment and having your horse treated during middle age will ensure a healthy mouth as your horse ages.

Over 20 years of age

 

HAVING YOUR OLDER HORSE'S TEETH CHECKED WILL HELP YOU KNOW WHAT FEED YOUR HORSE CAN MANAGE AND IN TURN WHAT FEED WILL MOST BENEFIT YOUR HORSE

 

Your horses teeth will be beginning to wear with age. Many horses with healthy teeth will still be able to manage their feed well, however your older horse may have increased nutritional requirements.

Horses with dental conditions may require extensive treatment to make them comfortable and free of pain and infection. They may require only soft feed as a combination of reduced grinding surfaces and declining tooth numbers may make grinding hay and dry grass impossible. 

  • Treatment every 6- 12 months may be required to monitor dental change and discuss nutritional requirements