Healthy Teeth Make for a Happy Horse

Healthy Teeth Make for a Happy Horse

Horses should have their oral health checked at least once a year by a veterinarian.

Photo: Adam Spradling/The Horse

August is Australian Veterinary Association’s (AVA) Dental Health Month, and owners are being encouraged to ensure they speak to their veterinarian about dental check-ups for their horses.

Dental and oral problems are very common in horses and many of these conditions can lead to behavior changes, chronic pain, and reduced performance.

To provide horses with optimal health and quality of life, good oral care is essential.

Kirsten Jackson, BSc, BVMS, MANZCVS, AVA representative, said this year’s Dental Health Month theme—“Healthy Set, Happy Pet”—highlights the importance of good oral health in horses and its impact on the overall health of an animal. It also raises awareness of the need for at least yearly dental check-ups performed by a veterinarian.

“A thorough dental examination provides the opportunity for a veterinarian to properly examine the mouth and teeth and allows painful problems to be picked up and treated early,” she said.

“Horses should have their oral health checked at least once a year by a veterinarian. Young horses (birth to six years of age) and senior horses (20 years of age or older) often need more frequent dental examinations.

“For a complete oral examination and good quality corrective care, horses need to be sedated to allow for a thorough examination of the oral structures using a dental light source,” she continued. “Pain relief during treatment can also be provided when needed. Veterinarians are trained in the use of these medications and in assessing the health of the horse so we can make the best and safest decisions for your horse’s well-being.”

Horses are often reluctant to show signs of pain or weakness, so dental disease can go undetected. Thorough dental examinations performed by a veterinarian are essential to maintain your horse’s oral health and happiness.

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