As your horse grows and ages its dental requirements change
The Young Horse
The first examination: Often no treatment will be required prior to 2 and a half years of age but the horse should be checked for conditions such as parrot mouth as these conditions can be treated more effectively early.
Prior to bitting: wolf teeth should be removed before a bit is introduced
At 2½years old horses begin to lose caps or baby teeth at this age, the next year is a very busy time in a horse’s mouth, the horse should be checked every 4 months until approximately 3½years old and once more at 4½ years old to check and remove any premolar and incisor caps that may be retained.
The Mature Horse
By 5 years old the horse is considered mature, all baby teeth have been shed and in most cases regular maintenance is the order of the day. Rims floated, tables balanced and bitseats maintained on a yearly schedule.
At approximately 18 years old the first of the molars will begin to wear down to a point where they cannot erupt much further. At this stage of life yearly maintenance is still a must but any signs of a decrease in heath or problems eating need to be taken very seriously. Dental disease, the need for extractions and other serious conditions can quickly affect the horse’s general health and quality of life. If in doubt, call your dentist sooner rather than later.
Common signs that your horse needs dental treatment
• Difficulty with biting
• Pulling to one side
• Head flicking or shaking
• Head shyness
• Sudden changes in behaviour
• Packing food, swelling on either side of the cheeks
• Dropping feed
• Sudden weight loss or gain
• Dull appearance or demeanour
• Unilateral discharge from nostrils
• Discharge from abscess draining from lower jaw
• Sweet unpleasant smell coming from the mouth or nose
• And many more...