Dentistry

It is very important to have your horse’s mouth regularly and thoroughly examined – at least once every year.

At the Severn Edge Equine Vets Clinic we are all equipped with a full set of modern floats with Tungsten Carbide blades and Haussmann gags to allow clear and safe examination and rasping. We also have a modern electric rasp that allows precise reduction of large overgrowths that would be impossible to remove with manual rasps. Some of our vets also like to use battery powered floats to make rasping easier and quicker for both the horse and vet.

As qualified veterinary surgeons we are able to sedate horses to facilitate better examination and rasping of fractious horses. We can also administer anti-inflammatory drugs and antibiotics if needed.

Teeth Rasping

Why do horses need their teeth rasping?

Horses have continuously growing molars which they use to grind down food and plant material. In the wild they would be chewing and eating coarse, fibrous material for up to eighteen hours a day. Domesticated horses are fed ‘hard feed’ and grazed on better quality grass and therefore their teeth do not wear down as quickly. Horses develop sharp enamel points on the outside of the upper (maxillary) cheek teeth that dig into the cheeks sometimes causing ulcers. Similarly, they also develop sharp enamel points on the lower (mandibular) cheek teeth that can lacerate the tongue. These points may cause the horse difficulties in grinding their food properly and also reduce their performance on the bridle when ridden.

If left without appropriate, regular dental care the horse can lose weight as well as develop more serious dental problems such as wave and step mouth. Hooks at the front of the mouth and ramps at the back can also be picked up on routine checks and corrected before causing serious problems. Diastemas are gaps between teeth that collect food – this food will then ferment and can cause gum disease. Early detection and management is very important in reducing the pain associated with periodontal disease.