From the Horses Mouth…

by Clare Brash

It’s New Year’s resolution time again, and I WILL buy an electric toothbrush and the fiddly little brushes that my dentist keeps advising me to use, and I WILL make time to check my own horse’s teeth too.

Horses have wider upper jaws than lower ones which normally creates a good grinding surface, but overgrowth can lead to sharp points which cause ulcers on the tongue and cheeks. They suffer from diastemata which is where rotten food becomes impacted between the teeth deep into the gums. Sharp hooks and ramps develop too which make eating and wearing a bit uncomfortable.

Signs of severe disease would include quidding (spitting out cigar-shaped food balls), an evil smell from the mouth, nasal discharge and a swollen face, headshaking, weight loss and a miserable uncooperative horse. The plan is to avoid these painful conditions by routine checks, and where necessary, the use of preventative rasping.

Youngsters and older horses need six monthly dental check-ups as the young are losing baby teeth and the elderly can have loose or missing teeth which cause serious problems.

A simple annual check-up should suffice for most individuals. We will check your horses’ teeth at vaccination time, and you can either have any work done there and then or join in one of our regular dental workshops at the practice.

Happy New Year to you all! I’m dashing to the shops for an Oral B after all this talk of rotten teeth!

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