Regular dental work is a very important part of your horse’s management. Dental examinations should be carried out every 6-12 months for routine care and early diagnosis and treatment of any dental problems.  Domesticated horses are fed ‘hard’ feeds and grazed on soft pastures which do not require the same degree of mastication as horses in the wild. Therefore sharp enamel points are a common problem in stabled horses.

It is important to understand that some horses will not show signs that they have severe dental conditions that
require treatment. This is why regular oral examinations, usually under sedation, are required to identify any abnormalities.
Only veterinary surgeons and qualified Equine Dental Technicians should perform dentistry on your horse. Only veterinary surgeons should sedate your horse and carry out extensive dental work, such as wolf tooth and cheek tooth extractions.
Dentistry is an area of equine veterinary care that is rapidly advancing and every horse should benefit from this.

Some common signs of dental problems are:

  • Subtle changes in ridden performance
  • Unsteadiness in the rein contact, stiffness to one side, rearing, bolting
  • Resistance to have the bridle put on
  • Quidding (balling up partially chewed hay and spitting it out)
  • Dropping hard feed, slow to eat up, holding head to one side whilst eating
  • Food packing into cheeks
  • Excessive salivation
  • Loss of condition
  • Nasal discharge
  • Lymph node enlargement
  • Head shyness or shaking
  • Foul-smelling breath
  • Facial swellings
  • Presence of whole grain in the manure

For more information
http://www.ava.com.au/policy/72-equine-dentistry
http://www.ava.com.au/equine-dentistry