Unfortunately, dentistry is the most forgotten, yet most preventable disease of horses. This is simply because it is not externally visible to owners.
Horses' teeth grow continuously, especially at a young age and they wear due to the grinding action of a horse eating. Commonly, the wearing is uneven and causes sharp edges to develop. These edges cause pain for the horse and discomfort to eat, be haltered or ridden (as the halter and bit push the cheek into these sharp edges). Some symptoms that may develop due to dental issues include:
- Dropping food
- Weight loss
- Head tossing
- Fussing or biting the bit
- Not wanting to turn when ridden
- General irritation
Horses need a dental at least once a year to prevent further, more severe issues developing. Dentals are routinely done under sedation as this allows the veterinarian to perform more thorough dental procedures and checks.