Horse dental care

Having regular dental check ups are essential to the on-going health of your horse.

The general health and condition of your horse starts with good nutrition, however optimising good nutrition relies on healthy teeth that do their job well for your horse - allowing effective chewing, digestion and nutrient absorption. This then creates a healthy, happy and willing companion.


Are bad teeth causing pain to your horse?

Horses have evolved as prey animals and as such are able to "hide" pain-indicating behaviour. This is a natural response useful to minimise the chances of being picked upon by a hungry predator. A good dental exam is the only way to make sure your horse in not suffering unnecessarily.

A horse's teeth grow continually and only slow down late in life. By the age of nine months most deciduous teeth (milk teeth) will be in wear. By five years all permanent teeth should be present.

Some common problems that can occur and often go untreated are:

  • Sharp enamel points that can lacerate the cheek and tongue leading to painful ulcers.
  • Erupted or retained wolf teeth.
  • Retained milk teeth that can interfere with permanent teeth emergence.
  • Inflamed and painful gums (developing periodontal disease).
  • Dental impactions, hooks, ramps and wave mouth.

At Totally Vets and Tararua Vet Services we have the expertise to address many of the dental problems your horse may have. During the initial visit we will:

  • Carry out a full exam, identify and treat most dental conditions including the extraction of loose and/or damaged teeth. 
  • Administer a preventative tetanus vaccination if necessary.
  • Collect blood for selenium testing if required.
  • Offer help on any other issue(s) you may need help with.

All our dental procedures are carried out under sedation. Sedation allows for:

  • A calm, stress-free, and efficient procedure.
  • Minimising of pain. Local anaesthetic is also used if any teeth need to be extracted.
  • High quality of diagnosis, followed by correct treatment.
  • The owner being able to observe the procedure being carried out.
  • Increased safety for us as vets, you as the handler and the horse.

Does sedation increase the cost of a dental?

No! In fact sedation allows for a quicker procedure as much less time is spent controlling the horse. It is also important to remember that procedures such as wolf teeth and/or molar and incisor extractions are painful to the horse and MUST ALWAYS be carried under sedation and local analgesia.    

So, if your horse has not had a dental check recently, please give us a call and we'll be happy to assist you.


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