Safe & Effective Equine Dental Care
Annual comprehensive dental care is an essential part of your horse’s overall health and well-being. At Columbia Equine Hospital, we provide complete dental services to our clients, including:
- Comprehensive dental evaluation—We will complete a comprehensive examination of your horse’s mouth so that we have a detailed record of any abnormalities that require follow up on subsequent visits. You will also be provided with a copy of this record to keep in your home medical files.
- Dental Float—Dental equilibration and odontoplasty is necessary for your horse’s comfort and performance. Tooth wear is dependent on many factors, including age and breed of the horse, dental conformation, loose or missing teeth, diet (hay vs. pasture and pellet vs. whole grains), and abnormal chewing due to trauma, abscesses/tumors, or arthritis of the TMJ.
- Geriatric dentistry—For older horses, it is particularly important to maintain dental health, as dental diseases can lead to poor body condition/ weight loss, pain, infection, and choke.
- Extraction—Wolf teeth, loose or diseased teeth may need to be removed for your horse’s comfort and health.
- Dental X-rays—We are able to do on-site X-rays of your horse so that we can see right away if they have any infected or diseased teeth, sinus diseases, tumors, or wolf tooth fragments.
We believe equine dentistry is essential to maintaining your horse’s overall health and longevity. If left untreated, diseases of the mouth can lead to more serious illnesses as well as significant discomfort for your horse. Simple routine care can go a long way toward reducing the amount of tooth loss, reducing the chance for medical conditions like choke and colic, and ultimately prolonging your horse’s lifespan.
We encourage you to watch for these signs of possible dental disease:
- Abnormal chewing action
- Quidding or dropping feed
- Weight loss
- Bit evasion and resistance
- Unbalanced or one-sided when ridden
- Facial swellings
- Odorous breath
- Unilateral nasal discharge
- Undigested oats or corn in manure
- Impaction colic
Your horse’s first dental exam and float should be performed by two years of age. Soft baby teeth develop sharp points that lacerate the cheeks and gums. Wolf teeth, if present, may need to be removed prior to bridling. Dental exams should be performed every six months until five years of age to remove any loose caps and file any sharp points that have developed due to losing teeth. Once your horse has all his or her permanent teeth, examinations once a year should be sufficient.
Oral examination requires sedation and a full-mouth speculum. Sedation allows your horse to relax during the procedure so that the veterinarian can completely evaluate and correct any dental issues. Unlike other dental speculums, the full-mouth speculum distributes pressure evenly across all the incisors to reduce strain on the TMJ. The horse’s head is suspended in a padded swing and supported by an experienced technician to reduce stress on the neck and poll.
Our equine veterinarians use Powerfloat® technology to perform a gentle and thorough dental equilibration in a shorter period of time than manual flotation. The rotary burr on the Powerfloat® will not lacerate the cheeks or tongue like traditional hand floats can.