Kent Veterinary Center


410-928-5700

PROPER DENTAL CARE FOR HORSES


            Over the past 10 or 15 years better tools have been developed for the proper dental care of horses. In addition horses have become less of a disposable commodity & are being ridden longer & living longer. Therefore the horse owning population is realizing the importance of proper dental care whether it is for the athlete, the show horse, the pleasure horse, the young horse or the geriatric horse.


            Proper dental care is critical throughout a horse’s entire life. It is fundamental to the health & well being of the horse & helps to insure that it performs to its maximum potential. Adult horses (older then 5 years) should have their teeth “floated” once a year. Horses less then 5 years should be examined & “floated” twice a year. In younger horses it is important to evaluate the development of permanent teeth as well as the shedding of immature teeth (caps). Geriatric horses have their own special needs & should be evaluated annually or more often if colic, choke, weight loss or other medical concerns arise.  As a horse ages most horses become debilitated due to the inability to eat well thus making proper dental care a necessity.


There is a whole lot more to dentistry than just floating teeth.


The advantages of having a veterinarian perform dental procedures on a horse are:


1) Proper sedation. It is illegal for lay people to administer any sedation to horses.


2) A proper & thorough oral examination. This is accomplished by using a speculum to open the horse’s mouth & visually examine every tooth & all the surrounding structures of the mouth.


3) With the use of power floats the veterinarian can watch as each individual tooth is being “floated or contoured” as apposed to “floating” blind with hand tools.


4) Problems with molars in the back of the mouth are most frequently associated with pain & reluctance to perform many bending & flexing exercises. These molars can easily be “floated or contoured” with the use of power tools which is impossible to do with hand held floats.


5) Dental abnormalities such as wave mouth, step mouth, ramps & caudal hooks can be corrected more precisely then with hand held floats.


6) Veterinarians are doctors & therefore have formal training & knowledge in all aspects of teeth & the oral cavity. (I.e. Nerve & blood supply, diseases, fractures, tooth decay, gum disease, etc.)


7) Veterinarians are the only people legally allowed to remove teeth, including wolf teeth.


I am pleased & excited to be able to offer a full range of dental services to you at your farm or in our clinic. Please call our office to set up an appointment.