On Site Horse Dentistry
When our Veterinary Surgeons perform an equine dental examination, the teeth and skull are examined for any over growth and abnormalities. The overall aim is to provide a grinding surface that the horse can use effectively to perform the first stage of the digestion process. Effective chewing or ‘mastication’ is very important as the high fibre and cellulose feeds horses eat, need to be considerably broken down and mixed with saliva before it enters the stomach. If the horse is unable to do this effectively, then it will not be able to utilise the nutrients and calories of the feed. In extreme cases, the mouth may be so distorted that the horse will not be able to chew at all. This is often noticed when the horse begins to lose weight and drop feed (quidding).
Sharp edges and hooks are the most common problems seen in the equine mouth. To examine your horses’ mouth, we place a Haussmann’s Gag onto your horse to hold the mouth open to perform the examination. Depending on the size and location of sharp edges or hooks, a rasp or highly developed electrical dental equipment will be used to reduce the size of any abnormalities.
If untreated, these problems can frequently lead to ulcers developing in the horses’ mouth which can be painful, they can reduce performance and your horse may stop eating or become head shy.
More complex problems such as ‘wave mouth’ or ‘shear mouth’ may require more frequent treatments. If left untreated, this may lead to serious discomfort.
Horses cope surprisingly well with dental treatments which are normally stress free, routine procedures.