Did you know that dental issues can lead to some very serious trouble in horses? Not only are toothaches very painful for equines, they can also cause problems with nutrition and digestion. This can cause or contribute to some dangerous medical issues, such as colic. Here, a Helotes, TX vet discusses keeping your horse’s teeth healthy.
Dental checkups are just as important for horses as they are for people. Have your horse’s choppers checked regularly. The recommended frequency of these appointments will depend on his age, history, and health. Young horses need their teeth checked quite often, as their teeth change so much during development. Senior horses also need frequent exams, as they are at increased risk of developing issues like tooth loss and periodontal disease. Follow your vet’s recommended appointment schedule for exams and floating.
Some of the signs of dental issues in horses are quite subtle, and can be easy to miss. Your horse may eat more slowly, start showing marked preferences for certain foods, or drop food from his mouth while eating. You may notice weight loss and uneaten food. Undigested grains in your furry friend’s droppings can also be a red flag. Dental issues, understandably, can also make horses grouchy, head shy, and/or reluctant to accept a bit.
Horses are all individuals, and they may exhibit signs of pain differently. One may not show any major signs of dental issues until the problem has gotten quite severe, while another may act off at the first sign of discomfort. Pay attention to your hooved buddy, and get to know his habits and mannerisms. This will make it easier to spot anything unusual.
As you probably know, performing dental work—or even exams—on a horse that is in pain can be both difficult and dangerous. Sedation can help tremendously with this. It will not only keep your horse relaxed, it will soothe any pain he or she is feeling. It also allows the vet to properly examine your horse and/or perform necessary procedures. That said, sedation may not be necessary for every exam. Also, it absolutely must be done by a veterinarian. Ask your vet for more information.
Do you know or suspect that your horse has dental issues? Contact us, your Helotes, TX vet clinic, today!