Routine dental examinations can be important for your horse’s health, especially as they age. We recommend that a horse have its first dental exam by four years of age. Routine dental exams should be performed at least every 2 years and at least once a year after 15 years of age. If your horse has dental problems or is exhibiting signs of dental problems, then we may recommend a dental exam more frequently.
What are signs of dental problems?
Some signs of dental problems include:
Difficulty maintaining weight
Dropping feed while eating
Poor performance under the saddle
What is involved with an equine dental exam?
Our clinic performs equine dental exams with a full mouth speculum under sedation. Your horse will remain standing while sedated. Since sedation is used for dental exams, all equine dental exams are performed on the farm as we do not have a haul-in facility available. During the exam, a veterinarian will examine the mouth for dental or oral problems. A power float will be utilized to reduce points or hooks. If problems are identified, the veterinarian will discuss treatment options with you.
Why does my horse need a dental exam under sedation?
Dental exams with a full mouth speculum allow for a thorough examination of all teeth. This allows for identification of problems such as fractures, missing teeth, misaligned teeth and uneven wear. Oral exams will also identify problems such as ulcers, foreign bodies, and oral tumors. In addition, correction of points and hooks can be done more completely and accurately with the use of a full mouth speculum. For the safety of the horse, veterinarian, and veterinary technician, animals must be sedated while using a full mouth speculum.
Does your clinic extract teeth?
Our clinic does not currently perform equine tooth extractions since we do not have a haul-in facility available. If a diseased tooth is identified that requires extraction then we will refer you to another veterinary hospital for that procedure.