Dental Correction and Feed Digestibility

According to a report published in the Equine Veterinary Journal, equine dental abnormalities are among the top five most common medical problems encountered by equine veterinarians. Clinical evidence has shown that horses with severe tooth hooks and points that were corrected gained weight and stopped quidding (dropping feed). This can improve digestibility of feed. The study, sponsored by Cornell University and Rutgers, concluded that routine dental work done on horses with less severe hooks and points did not improve feed digestibility.

Routine dental work is necessary to prevent the severe hooks and points from being formed, reminded Harold Hintz, PhD, MS, Professor of animal nutrition at Cornell University and one of the researchers involved with the study.

The Cornell study also found that performance floating (radical smoothing of the molar surfaces) and creation of bit seats (radical rounding of the premolar surfaces) had no significant difference in feed digestion when compared with routine floating, which was not what researchers expected going into the study.

Other participants in the study were Sarah Ralston, VMD, PhD, Dipl. ACVN, Associate Professor at Rutgers University; David Foster, VMD, who specializes in equine dentistry in his practice in Morganville, N.J.; and Tom Divers, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM, ACVECC, Associate Professor of Medicine in large animal medicine at Cornell.

About the Author

Sarah Evers Conrad

Sarah Evers Conrad has a bachelor’s of arts in journalism and equine science from Western Kentucky University. As a lifelong horse lover and equestrian, Conrad started her career at The Horse: Your Guide to Equine Health Care magazine. She has also worked for the United States Equestrian Federation as the managing editor of Equestrian magazine and director of e-communications and served as content manager/travel writer for a Caribbean travel agency. When she isn’t freelancing, Conrad spends her free time enjoying her family, reading, practicing photography, traveling, crocheting, and being around animals in her Lexington, Kentucky, home.

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