HORSES GRIND THEIR FEED WITH A SIDEWAYS MOTION. SHARP POINTS TEND TO FORM ALONG THE EDGES.
Years ago a labor-some task of floating teeth (smoothing down the rough edges) that rivaled the thrill gifted in mucking out stalls, equine dentistry has morphed into a highly technical and much researched skill of care. We deal with problems from the youngest to the oldest of our patients:
•Young horse: developmental abnormalities, tooth eruption problems, conformational defects•Horse in riding: bit acceptance, eruption issues (i.e. caps or “baby teeth”, wolf teeth), sharp points, bit seats, head carriage•Companion horse: comfort, weight loss, spilling feed while eating, inadequate chewing (which can have multi-factorial causes, and can be responsible for impaction colics, esophageal choke, and decreased feed efficiency)
•Geriatric horse: an increased incidence of the aforementioned companion horse problems, tooth/molar loss, tooth abcesses (and corresponding sinus infections), periodontal disease, and diastemas
While bit problems and weight loss constitute the most obvious signs of dental problems, the oddities of sinus infections, impaction colics, choke, and even behavioral problems warrant dental investigation as to determine their potential role in these and other problems.
The logical, prudent approach to these issues involves scheduled dental exams; as with life in general, the problems are more easily corrected by nipping them in the bud. When comfort, performance, longevity, and minimization of secondary problems are considered, good dental care becomes a no-brainer.