|Importance of Equine Dentistry
||If you own a horse, more thank likely you have had your vet
'float' your horses' teeth. When should you worry about dental
with your horse? Well, if you ride your horse at all, then you
should check its teeth once each year.
Controversy over power tools versus
rasping comes up all the time, however, here at C2R, we believe
power tools in the hands of an educated professional are the way to
go. Unless your vet has 'power
tools', they will use a rasp to float teeth. It is important
to note here that horses' teeth grow throughout their lifetime, and
there is only so much tooth, so if rasped improperly or too much,
the tooth will be filed away to nothing eventually. Trying to
float teeth with a rasp and not having a mechanism to hold the
horse's mouth open is just asking for trouble - it's like letting
your dentist work on your mouth without looking.
So, hire a professional equine dentist that has the proper power
drills and tools to hold your horses' mouth open while they look -
opt for drugs so that your horse can be relaxed and stand still
while his mouth is getting looked at and fixed. And educate yourself
about your horses' teeth so you know what your dentist is or is not
doing to your horse.
How do you know if your horse needs dental? You can run
your fingers along the outside of his cheek - along his teeth in the
back - if they are having a problem, they will flinch. You
might find your horse is tossing his head a lot or not wanting the
bit in its mouth. Even a halter or hackamore can put painful
pressure on sharp tooth edges.
||Horses chew from side to side, so their teeth should be flat, no
sharp edges, no cups, no hooks. They lose teeth just like we
do. A horses' first dental check up should be at age 3 or
prior to any training/riding. As they begin to lose teeth,
sometimes a baby tooth might get 'stuck' and cause pain just like
ours do. Your equine dentist can take out loose teeth to
prevent training issues. At age 5 or 6, they get their final
molars in, and there could be issues there as well.
Have your equine dentist check your horse on an annual basis to
prevent problems that arise during training. Below is a horse
that came to me for training years ago, without having dental done
first. I noticed right away that she tossed her head a lot.
Upon looking in her mouth, she had wolf teeth, sharp edges and
hooks. Her owners didn't realize it because they had not used
her at all.
This is why we insist on dental checks before we begin training -
this horse endured pain while training (although it was caught right
away, she still experienced pain) which set her training back.
In addition, it added a week to her training because we had to take
time out to get her teeth done and wait a day for them to heal
before we began again.
|Wolf teeth are smaller teeth that sometimes grow in front of the
premolars - unlike the other teeth, wolf teeth have many nerves in
them and the horse feels every little bump. So when you put
the bit in the horses' mouth, it causes incredible pain for them.
She had to have both wolf teeth pulled. Some horses get
them on top and bottom, some only get one, some do not get them at
all. With regular dental work, your dentist can prevent the
horse from ever experiencing pain from wolf teeth.
|In addition, this horse had ulcerations from the sharp edges
that had developed on her teeth from chewing. Notice how sharp
the edges of her teeth are - then look at her cheek - see the sores
in her mouth. It is just like us biting our cheek, but for a
horse, they constantly chew on their cheeks if their teeth are
sharp. They can have sores on their tongue as well.
might notice the soreness if your horse chews really slow, picks at
his food, tosses his head a lot or becomes thin.
||Looking at the side of her mouth in the front, you can see how
the tooth has developed a hook overlapping the other tooth.
This can be caused from genetics or from lack of dental care.
Hooks cause the horse's jaw to not move freely when they chew -
they can have eating problems that you might notice in weight loss.
Another issue with hooks on the molars in the back is that the
horse can get his hooks on the bit and the horse will then take hold
of the bit so you are no longer in control when riding.
|Here is an example of before and after photo.
Look closely at the edges of the teeth in the first photo - sharp
Now, in the second photo, after proper equine dental work, you
can see how flat the edges of the teeth look. I also have my
equine dentist round the edge of the first tooth in the back, on top
and bottom, both sides - this is called a bit seat and it allows the
bit to work against the lips as it is suppose to, instead of the
horse getting ahold of it with those teeth and pulling it out of
Chance 2 Ranch uses Katrina Johnson,
Equine Dentist, for all dental work. She is very thorough
and has power tools to properly care for your horses'
teeth. She can administer necessary sedatives to ensure a
thorough look at your horses' mouth.