Just like our small animal counterparts, it is equally important for our equine friends to have proper dental care as well. Equine dentistry is a vital part of preventative care for your horse. Floating and filing your horse’s teeth is just one part of comprehensive health care. An evaluation of the horse’s entire body is necessary to look for signs of disease. The entire mouth should be evaluated, from the outside (lips and jaws) to the inside (teeth, gums, tongue, etc.). In all reality, equine teeth problems are soft tissue problems. This means that the teeth may be the underlying issue, but it is the soft tissue or organs that are also being affected by dental disease.
Unlike our small animal friends, horses are not known for developing tartar/plaque. Their issues stem from abnormal shape of the tooth itself. Because horses have hypsodontic teeth, they are always erupting (which is different from growing – once a tooth has fully erupted, there is no more tooth surface to extend beyond the gum line). As the teeth erupt, daily chewing leads to hooks and points that can cause ulcers or cuts on the gums, inner cheeks, and tongue. This or other abnormal confirmation of the teeth can lead to a variety of problems including weight loss or behavioral issues.
Although it is very rare for a horse to need floating every year, it is important to have the horse’s mouth evaluated during its annual checkup. At Advanced Veterinary Care we will evaluate your horse’s mouth as part of a comprehensive preventative exam. If intervention is needed, we are able to offer top of the line dental/oral care, using the latest in anesthesia, power floats, and regional nerve blocks to limit unnecessary pain.