How To Care For Your Horse's Teeth
Five Top Tips For Why Dental Care Important For Your Horse
- Able to eat more easily and break down food for good digestion
- Find wearing a bridle (and bit) more comfortable
- Can be a cause of "behavioural problems". A horse with dental pain can appear to be 'problematic' in some way, but if it's due to pain then who can blame the horse for being "angsty"?!
- Maintain great oral hygiene and reduce likelihood of mouth disorders
- Help overall health and wellbeing
Common Equine Dental Problems
Many horses, ponies or donkeys will experience some type of dental issue, often due to a conformational problem, age or injury amongst other causes. Some common dental problems include:
- Abnormal wear - easily occurs if the horse eats on one side more than the other
- Tooth decay
- Gaps between the teeth (where food can get "caught" and be impacted)
- Loose or broken teeth
- Sharp enamel points - can lead to ulcers, and make chewing food difficult
What Signs To Spot For Equine Dental Problems?
There are many signs as to whether your horse, pony or donkey has a dental issue, some more subtle than others. Typically these signs can include:
- Dropping bits of food - particularly noticeable if your equine has hay, and drops 'clumps' of it (known as 'quitting').
- Smelly breath
- 'Picky' about foods - if she or he normally eats fine, and changes eating habits
- Change in happiness at being ridden or even led on a head collar
- Swelling - this could be a small swelling on the jawline, so always worth knowing what 'normal' is and stroking his/her head regularly.
- Colic - dental problems can lead to poor digestion that can result in colic
- Sudden dislike of face being touched
- ….. but there can be no obvious sign of pain or discomfort, so a regular check up is essential!
Holistic Approaches To Help Maintain Great Equine Dental Care, Including Complementary Therapies
Regular Dental Check-ups A qualified professional Equine Dental Technician (EDT) or Veterinary Surgeon should check your horse, pony or donkey's teeth at least annually. They may recommend more frequent check-ups depending on the health/condition of the mouth. Prevention is better than cure, so this is an easy way to help avoid problems building up. Do note that some dental procedures MUST be completed by a Veterinary Surgeon, a professional EDT will inform you if the required work is outside their remit and you need your Vet.
This can be used to diagnose dental infection and problems. Thermography is non-invasive and can show more than can be seen through a visual examination especially if a dental problem is not easily visible. Read more at my advice page.
Bach Flower Remedies It's not uncommon for equine's not liking having their mouths examined, (as is often the case with people!). Bach flower remedies are an excellent natural and safe way to help your animal cope with many situations, there are 38 different different remedies so at least one will suit your horse, pony or donkey. To learn more take a look at my Bach Flower Remedies advice page here. You may have heard of Rescue Remedy? This is a popular Bach Flower Remedy to help with 'shocks' and 'special occasions', read more about this in this blog post
Reiki is a gentle holistic energy therapy that can help promote relaxation and calmness. Offer Reiki to your equine before a dental check-up and afterwards too! Read more about it in my advice page here
Tellington Ttouch is a great technique that helps all types of animals to be calm and feel more secure, particularly important if there's a lot of 'excitement' or 'stress' from a dental visit. Read more at the official Ttouch website here.
There are many other complementary therapies that can help your horse, dog, cat or other animal to be happier and healthier. Discover more information on dozens of therapies throughout this website, visit the Taranet Knowledge Hub.
Useful Contact Links:
British Association of Equine Dental Technicians
British Veterinary Dental Association
Would you like help finding a qualified Equine Dental Technician or a complementary therapist for your horse? Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, I'll be pleased to try and assist!