Horses

Horses

DENTAL CARE OF THE HORSE

DENTAL CARE OF THE HORSE 1. 

The horse’s mouth forms a very important part of the digestive system and also forms the vital link between the horse and rider. Proper dental care is essential to your horses health. Unlike our teeth, the horses teeth continue to grow during most of  life and are different from any other species because their teeth are very long, and are mostly under the gum line. Horse teeth are abraded by chewing and grinding of food materials between the surfaces of the upper and the lower teeth. Thus, if there is a change of the cyclical grinding motion of the horses jaw due to pain for example, the grinding surfaces of the teeth can rapidly become abnormal. The upper molars (grinding teeth) are wider than the lower  molars and because feed is much different today, this means that the teeth wear differently and the outside edges of the upper molars and the inside edges of the lower molars get very sharp. These sharp edges need to be correctly filed to prevent damage to the cheeks and tongue. In many cases you cannot tell whether your horse has dental problems. It will help if you routinely observe the horse when it is ridden and when it is eating. Look for : head shaking, head tossing, pulling to one side, hanging, being hard to turn, blood on the bit, spilling feed while eating, screwing the jaws, excessive salivation, bad appetite, bad smell from the mouth, colic, undigested feed in the manure, and gagging. 

Feed with barley grass seeds must be avoided at all times as these seeds can do quite a lot of damage to areas under the tongue and lips, as well as beside the upper molars. Crushed oats have a furry coating underneath the husk and these hairs can cause ulcerations. Packing of food between the molars results in irritation and often disease of the gums, which is often followed by disease around the root of the tooth, causing it to become loose. The horse will typically be prone to colic. Teeth need to be aligned properly to avoid these problems. Also, keep in mind that the area between the incisors and the molars where the bit rests is very sensitive and the bit rests only on  two  very narrow edges of the jaw. 

Horses need to be checked regularly: Paddock fed horses every 12months and stable fed horses every 6 months, to prevent problems from developing. In most situations, dental examinations are best carried out with the horse under sedation. Please call the friendly staff at Mudgee Veterinary Hospital to arrange a dental check on your horse. 63722105. 

 

DENTAL CARE OF YOUR HORSE 2. 

The following is a snapshot of some of the issues that can plague a horses teeth at various stages of its life: 

From birth to 12 months: Foals have a total of 16 teeth at birth. At 4-6 weeks, four more incisors will erupt  through the gum, and at approximately 6-9months the last set of deciduous teeth incisors will erupt. Around the same time, the wolf teeth will erupt-these teeth serve no purpose and may interfere with bitting of the horse. It is advisable to have these teeth removed at the time of breaking in. At 12 months of age the first of the permanent cheek teeth erupts so it is a good time to ensure that normal eruption is occurring and have its first dental check. Dental  abnormalities can reduce weight gain by up to 30%.

From 1 – 6 years of age: During this period horses will shed their 24 deciduous first set of teeth and up to 44 permanent teeth will erupt through the gums. Common problems are formation of sharp enamel points and deciduous or baby teeth that fail to shed correctly. Hooks, waves and impaction of teeth happen during this period. These need to be identified and corrected every 6 months.

From 7 – 15 years: The rate of wear begins to slow slightly as the teeth erupt and horses will need to be examined every 12months. Removal of sharp enamel points  is very important. Periodontal disease begins to occur and early detection is the only way to prevent premature loss of affected teeth. The bacteria associated with periodontal disease also enters the bloodstream and travel through the vital organs and horses affected may need antibiotics to help overcome this disease.

Older Horses: This group of horses is beginning to reach the end of their reserve crown (the part of the tooth that remains below the gum line). They may have concurrent diseases like Cushings and can have difficulty maintaining weight. So their diet, dental care and management must be of a high standard. Horses begin to lose the enamel from their cheek teeth and these teeth become more fragile and start to wear quicker. Hence early detection and dental care could have prolonged the longevity of these teeth. These horses should be checked every 6months.

 

Please call the friendly staff at Mudgee Veterinary Hospital and make an appointment to have your horses teeth checked.

 

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Hore Eye Ulcer

Here are some pictures of a Hores with a nasty eye ulcer. Caused initially by trauma inbecame infected with bacteria. Later the ulcer became infected with a fungal disease.

There is flushing catheter in place to allow frequent flushing treatment of treatment solutions to the eye

 

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