National Pet Dental Health Month: Horse Dental Care

Happy New Year to you all. February is National Pet Dental Health Month and in celebration of this time of observance, we aim to help shine some light and spread awareness regarding the importance of maintaining the oral health of your pet horse.

Scheduling veterinarian appointments are extremely important for your horse because a vet can health issues in their early stages and take necessary measures to cure or treat the problem before it becomes serious. Diseases and disorders that are common in equids, particularly horses are:

  • Periodontal Disease – This is the result of poor oral hygiene and can lead to tooth loss, and is a risk factor for heart and lung disease. The symptoms of Periodontal disease are swollen, red, and tender gums. 34% of all horses experience some level of this disease, and 60% of horses 13 years of age and up will develop a serious enough case that medical intervention will be needed.
  • EOTRH Syndrome (Equine Odontoclastic Tooth Resorption and Hypercementosis) – This is a syndrome that results in resorptive lesions of the incisors and occasionally canines, and is a condition mostly seen in horses 15 years and up. The onset of this syndrome is gradual and frequently isn't diagnosed until the present lesions are quite extensive.
  • Malocclusion – This is a disorder caused by faulty alignment between the upper and lower jaw of a horse. The result of Malocclusion is a misaligned bit, damage and crooked teeth, and severe pain, which can lead to weight loss due to the discomfort experienced when eating. It is important to have young horses checked for Malocclusion because their teeth and jaws are still forming, which could expedite the treatment process.

A horse can also develop a wide array of unique oral problems such as:

  • Sharp Edges or Hooks - This is a problem roughage usually associated with domesticated horses, and is due to the lack of roughage consumed by tamed horses. Grass grazing and the occasional ingestion of soil can help wear down the surface of a horse's teeth, preventing sharp edges and hooks.
  • Wolf Teeth – These are small, pointed teeth that grow just forward of a horse's first premolars. They are vestigial first premolars and are referred to as the second premolar even without the presences of wolf teeth.
  • Lost Teeth – By the age of four or five, a young horse should have all of their permanent teeth, or be very close to shedding the last of their baby teeth.

The benefits of good oral hygiene in equids, especially horses, translates to the overall health of the horse. These benefits range from pain-free chewing to the increased quality and longevity of a horse's life. To learn more about the benefits of good oral hygiene in horses, visit us.

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