Routine dental care plays a vital role in the health and longevity of your horse. A horse's teeth are undergoing a constant and fickle cycle of eruption and wear throughout their lifetime and any issues which affect this delicate balance (such as broken teeth, overgrown teeth, painful chewing) can result in severe issues which greatly affect their ability to eat properly and therefore perform as expected. For an animal that can chew up to 50 000 times per day - dental health is key!
The field of equine dentistry has evolved rapidly over the past 20-30 years. Gone are the days where a quick feel and file of the sharp points in an unsedated horse with no light source is considered good practice. Many of the most common and important issues we now see are only discoverable by a thorough visual exam with the aid of a mirror and in some cases cameras or scopes. Additionally, we are only able to see and feel the crown of the tooth - the tip of the iceberg. In order to assess the health of the teeth roots x-rays are required.
We are fully set up with a mobile vet crush to improve safety of horse, operator and owner. We are able to perform all aspects of dentistry from diagnosis (including a portable x-ray machine) through to treatment which may include sedation, local anaesthetic nerve blocks and surgery which are only able to be carried out by qualified veterinarians.
How often should my horses teeth be done?
In the first 5 years of a horse's life 24 deciduous teeth fall out and are replaced by 36 permanent teeth erupting. This is the period where problems can arise with abnormalities of tooth eruption that if left untreated can affect a horse for the rest of its life. Additionally, the teeth of young horses wear faster and as such develop sharp enamel points quicker which can lead to mucosal ulceration.
As such it is recommended that all horses have a dental performed every 6-9 months from 1-2 years of age up until 5 years of age.
At this point, all adult teeth are in position and in wear and the development of sharp enamel points has slowed down. Generally middle aged horses (5-20) will require a dental every 12 or so months as maintenance to keep everything in check.
Geriatric horses vary widely depending on their history and as such may require more regular checks (3-6 months) or be ok to maintain yearly checks.