Equine Dentistry

by / Wednesday, 10 April 2013 / Published in Horses, Large Animals, News Archive

“The cornerstone of your horses annual health check”

What is Involved.

An initial health check and examination of the mouth is carried out prior to sedation. The sedative is given to allow a detailed, proper examination of the entire mouth. A gag is then placed in the mouth to hold the mouth open and a light is used to allow an even closer examination of all the teeth. Problems are then diagnosed and charted on a dental chart. A “powerfloat” (electric rasp) is then used to remove the sharp enamel points, hooks and any other problems.

Signs of a Dental Problem  ulceration

  • Head tossing.
  • Resisting bridling.
  • Cheeks sensitive to touch.
  • Resists turning (may be subtle)
  • Mouthing or chewing at bit.
  • Head tilt when ridden or lunged.
  • Sticking tongue out or over the bit.

How Often?

How often a horse needs a dental depends on many factors, for example, age, what they eat, what type of work they do. In general younger horses under 6 and horses over 15 years of age require dentals up to twice a year. In middle aged horses a dental is recommended every 12 months. With performance horses a dental performed every 6 months can ensure they perform at their peak.

Who is Your Dental Provider?

There are questions you should ask any person treating your horseshorse_dental_copy

Do they?…

  • Perform a clinical examination prior to treatment?
  • Provide your horse with pain relief?
  • Clean the mouth before examining?
  • Clean and disinfect instruments?
  • Provide you a detailed written record of findings?

Are they?….

  • Able to treat infection?
  • Legally allowed to prescribe antibiotics?
  • Up-to-date with the latest techniques and equipment?

It is illegal for a non-veterinarian to administer or possess any sedation or prescribe any medication.

A dental check-up is also a great time to:

  • Discuss health issues and conduct routine vaccination and worming.
  • Annual tetanus and strangles vaccinations
  • Routine worming and yearly plan
  • Faecal testing for worm burden
  • Nutrition and supplementation advice
  • Health care discussions- e.g. QLD itch, arthritis, performance issues.

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