If you own horses, you should be familiar with the term periodontal disease, and yet chances are you haven’t heard of it. Periodontal disease is the most common disease affecting horses, with around 70% of horses suffering from its effects. So what is this important disease, what are its effects and how is it diagnosed and treated?
Weight loss and dental issues are both very complex problems that often involve many factors which your dental vet will consider before advising on treatment.
Of course there is a lot to learn and think about when caring for a horse or pony and there are 3 Key Areas that always need to be looked after: FEET, FOOD and TEETH. Looking after these areas correctly we ensure that if our pony is otherwise fit and healthy, then they are ready to attend pony club and have the chance to enjoy it as much as we do. In this article we are going to talk about horses’ mouths and how best to care for their teeth and gums.
Wolf Teeth generally cause few problems for horses in the wild, however with our domestic horses when a bot is placed into the horses mouth, contact between the bit and wolf teeth can cause the horse pain and sensitivity A horse has many teeth, of several types and this has been discussed in previous articles. One that commonly causes a lot of confusion for horse owners is the wolf tooth. SOME HISTORY... Wolf teeth are a vestigial tooth (this means they are a tooth that is no longer necessary) and can be thought of a bit like wisdom teeth in people.
Horses have a different type of tooth to humans, one that is designed to wear down over time, so the teeth of horses have a lifespan and as horses reach their twenties and thirties their teeth will begin to wear down. The surface that is then available for the horse to pick up, chew, and grind food is often very poor, so one of the most important aspects of geriatric dental care is to ensure your horse has a good grinding surface going into old age, in other words don’t wait until you have an old skinny horse to think about looking after its teeth.
Choke is a blockage in the oesophagus. The material causing the blockage is normally foodstuff, but in isolated cases may consist of plastic, rocks, timber or other foreign materials. The blockage may be partial or complete. In most cases, choke is not an immediate emergency, but if the problem does not resolve quickly, then horses can become dehydrated, and the oesophagus can become irreversibly damaged. There is also a risk of the horse developing pneumonia. In severe cases, the condition can be life threatening. What to look for:
Whenever a horse feels pain or discomfort due to bitting issues or dental pain, the signs they show range from subtle to spectacular! Common signs include a resistance, or heaviness in one direction, grabbing or chewing the bit, head tossing at a transition, tilting the head, retracting the tongue or placing it to one side, opening the mouth and extending the neck to avoid contact. This is not an exhaustive list and there are other causes for these signs such as other health, training, and rider issues .