Colic is also a real concern for horses who have not had regular dental treatment. If a horse is unable to effectively masticate his feed, he will swallow larger than suitable boluses (balls) of food. It is a very real prospect that large boluses do, in fact cause impaction colic.
Even if there appears to be nothing wrong with your horse, it is so extremely important to follow these suggested check up times-
- Paddock fed and over 5 years of age- every 12 months.
- Stable fed and over 5 years of age- every 9 months. Teeth will be sharper if eating mainly hard feed.
- 18 months-5 years of age- every 6 months. Deciduous (baby) teeth may be loose and require extraction, sharp points will develop from 18 months old.
Your equine dentist should file the sharp points to a correct degree. Unfortunately as an owner, this is very difficult to check. Unlike the farrier, you cannot check the dentistʼs work, you need to trust that your horseʼs teeth have been treated correctly.
I like to encourage willing owners (if safe to do so) to feel inside the mouth of their horse before and after treatment, as generally those that do so, are much less likely to miss their 6/12 month check up.
So what should you expect from your equine dentist?
Your horseʼs teeth should not be excessively filed, nor under filed. Any feed between the incisors and molars cleaned, any visible tartar removed from the incisors, any diastema (gaps between teeth) must be identified and dealt with, cleaned and noted for future treatments.
Your equine dentist should also notify you of any abnormalities of your horseʼs bite, any extracted deciduous, wolf or adult teeth, any signs of periodontal disease or gingivits and any other abnormalities or areas of potential future problems. A dental chart is a very useful way for the equine dentist to note and record any abnormalities, which can be read before the next visit to ensure a thorough check up and treatment for your horse.
If you have any dental related questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0405 978 771.
Cert. Equine Dentist II
Associate Australian Equine Dental Practice