Lakewood Animal Hospital

4882 Portal Dr
Tallahassee, FL 32303

(850)562-5116

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Learn to Recognize Your Horse's Dental Problems


Horses with dental problems may show obvious signs, such as pain or irritation, or they may show no noticeable sings at all.  This is because some horses simply adapt to their discomfort.  For this reason, regular dental examinations, at least annually, are essential to your horse's health.

It is important to catch dental problems early.  If a horse starts behaving abnormally, dental problmes should be considered as a potential cause.  Waiting to long may increase the difficulty of remedying certain conditions or may enve make remedy impossible.  Accoriding to the Amercian Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP), the following indicatiors of dental problems will help you know when to seek veterinary attention for you horse:

1.  Loss of feed from mouth while eating, difficulty with chewing, or excessive salivation.
2.  Loss of body condition.
3.  Large or undegested feed particles (long stems or whole grain) in manure.
4.  Head tilting or tossing, bit chewing, tongue lolling, fighting the bit or resisting bridling.
5.  Poor performance, such as lugging on the bridle, failing to turn or stop, even bucking.
6.  Foul odor from mouth or nostirls, or traces of blood from the mouth.
7.  Nasal discharge or swelling of the face, jaw or mouth tissues.

Oral exam should be an essential part of an annual physical examination by a veterinarian.  Every dental exam provides the opportunity to perform routine preventative dental maintenance.  Mature horses should get a thorough dental exam at least once a year, and horses 2-5 years old should be examined twice yearly.

Permission for reprint is granted with attribution given to the American Association of Equine Practitioners