Regular professional equine dental care is essential to a horse or pony's overall health and well-being.
A horse's teeth should receive a thorough examination from an equine dentist at least once a year.
Good equine dentistry plays an important part in maintaining a horse's health throughout his life and into his thirties and forties.
It is important to detect problems with a horse's teeth in the early stages.
Horses might show obvious symptons of dental problems by showing that they are experiencing pain, or its possible that no signs of a problem with their teeth are noticed by the horse's owner.
Often by the time a horse owner notices, and becomes concerned by, a problem in the horse's mouth - for instance having trouble chewing, dropping feed, fighting and resisting the bit, weight loss, swellings on the side of the face or having bad breath, the abnormalities in the horse's mouth may be severe.
An equine dental problem in a horse or pony, if left undiagnosed and untreated, has the potential to develop into a much more serious equine health concern. Many horses suffer from chronic and serious weight loss caused by equine dental disorders
As well as loss of weight, a horse can suffer from colic as a result of being unable to chew his feed properly.
Other equine health problems can be caused when bacteria associated with gum disease in the horse's mouth move into other areas of the horse's body.
A routine equine dental check is the simplest measure that a horse owner can take to prevent a more serious condtion from developing. It is a good idea to schedule these checks at the same time as vaccinations - that way you can be sure of at least a yearly check.
All horses and ponies should have an examination at least once a year from a veterinary surgeon or horse dentist. Young horses aged between two to five years benefit from checks of their teeth every 6 to 9 months, as the mouth and teeth change a great deal during this period of their development.
By the time the horse is about 13 the growth rate of the tooth slows down and is usually OK to reduce the number dental checks to once a year.
The rate of growth can help you to tell the age of your horse by its teeth.
Veteran horses have a greater risk of developing problems with their teeth and gums and may require examinations two or more times a year to help to keep them in good equine health.