Equine Dental Care
A horse’s teeth continually grow throughout their lives. In fact, this is where the term “long in the tooth” comes from! When horses graze, the way they chew their food results in the grinding down of their teeth. Sometimes the wear may not be even, resulting in surfaces that don’t meet properly or that have sharp areas that hurt the horse’s mouth. This may require medical intervention, and there are certain ways that you can tell if your horse is in need of dental care.
We have a full time licensed equine dental provider on staff. He performs the majority of our equine dental services, in conjunction with our veterinarians.
Signs of Dental Need in Your Horse
Your horse may need dental attention if he:
- Seems reluctant to eat. This may mean that sharp points on his molars are poking the sensitive roof of his mouth or inner cheek.
- Drops food as he’s eating. The surfaces may be unevenly worn, interrupting his ability to chew food properly and causing him to drop it. Also called “quidding.”
- Chews excessively on the bit or tosses his head. May be a sign of pain.
- Has bad breath: a sign of tooth decay or gum disease.
Generally, the team at Greens Creek Veterinary Hospital recommends annual checkups for adult pets and biannual checkups for seniors. If you notice one of the signs above, please contact us immediately for a visit.
Floating teeth is the process by which a dental is performed for a horse. The process works in the following way:
- First, the horse will be sedated and a speculum will be placed between the teeth. This device is held in place with straps like a headstall and allows the vet to ratchet open the horse’s mouth.
- If needed, long-handled molar cutters may be used to remove any large hooks or sharp areas on the teeth.
- Then, the teeth will be filed to smooth out rough edges. (This is the part of the procedure known as “floating the teeth.)
Green’s Creek Veterinary Hospital uses the latest technology in pneumatic floats and other specialized power equipment to achieve the ultimate smooth and even teeth your performance horse needs.