Regular dental examinations are important for all equines to maintain their health and performance. Bourton Vale Equine Clinic has experienced vets able to carry out routine and advanced dental care on your horse, pony or donkey at either your yard or at one of our in house dental clinics.
A horse’s teeth, unlike a human’s, continuously erupt throughout their lives. In the wild a horse/pony would spend upto 16 hours per day eating a fairly course fibrous diet (e.g. ponies on Exmoor and Dartmoor). This generally causes natural, fairly even wear of the teeth. As we have domesticated horses and ponies, we have significanlty altered their diets with high quality but less fibrous grass, hay and haylage. In addition we feed manufactured compound feeds which reduce the amount a horse chews. This unnatural diet leads to uneven or abnormal wearing of the teeth.
So routine dental care is essential to prevent discomfort when a bridle or bit is in place ad ensuring peak performance. In addition it will allow them to eat normally. Horses and ponies under 8 years of age or those with specific dental abnormalities should be examined and treated every 6 months. Those aged over 8 years may well only need to be treated once a year which can be easily combined with their annual vaccination.
Horses are often very stoical about dental pain and will commonly show few symptoms despite having significant problems. The common symptoms include:
- Dropping partially chewed frood from the mouth (quidding).
- Apparant difficulty chewing.
- Weight loss.
- Unpleasant odours coming from the mouth.
- Facial swellings.
- Reduced performance when ridden/worked.
- One or more episodes of choke.
- Nasal discharge.
These symptoms can be caused by a range of common dental abnormalities such as sharp points, hooks/overgrowth, wave or sheer mouth, diastemas (gaps between teeth), fractured teeth, dental caries and apical abscesses.
At Bourton Vale Equine Clinic we can carry out a full range of dental procedures at your stables or in the clinic. All of this is carried out by experienced qualified veterinary surgeons backed up by full hospital facilities. We are able to carry out the following:
- Routine dental rasping
- Sedation where required
- Wolf tooth removal
- Oroscopic examination
- Dental radiography
- Tooth extraction
Whatever your concerns, give us a call. We are happy to talk to you about any possible problems your horse or pony is having with their teeth.