Tooth Truth: What Dental Care Do Horses Require?

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We are used to the six month vaccines and farrier visits that our horses require, but how often do we consider their oral health? We don’t often give our horse’s teeth a second thought, but they are key to keeping our horses in tip-top shape. Keep reading to learn what to expect at an equine dental appointment.

What sort of routine dental care do horses need?  

Doctors usually recommend checking a horse’s mouth twice a year during their routine vaccination and wellness appointments. A brief, unsedated oral exam can give them a general idea if the horse has sharp points that may be ulcerating their cheeks, or severe waves or hooks that need regular maintenance. 

There are limitations to this sort of exam, however, since most horses won’t hold out their tongues and say, “AHHH.” Instead, they usually toss their heads away as the veterinarian struggles to see half-way into their mouths. For this reason, many dental issues can be difficult to find until the horse is completely sedated and the mouth is held open with a speculum. Even if a brief exam looks normal, if it has been a year (or more) since the last dental float, it is a good idea to have your horse sedated for a complete oral exam.

Does My Horse Have Sharp Points?

Not every horse will need sharp points reduced every year. Some may need it more frequently, but it varies from horse to horse. Some may regularly develop hooks or waves that will need attention on a yearly basis. Although older horses may show more problems as their teeth age and wear, many issues actually start in younger or middle-aged horses. These issues can be prevented with attentive dentistry. A sedated oral exam can give you and your vet much more information about how often your horse may need maintenance. 

Carolina Equine Hospital

Has it been a while since your horse had her mouth looked at? Has your vet suggested a dental checkup? Call us to set up an appointment! We service equines in the Piedmont triad and have the ability to perform appointments at our facility or on the farm.