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Why Equine Dental Health is Essential for the Wellbeing of Our Sanctuary's Horses

In April, our sanctuary welcomed a dozen equine dental trainees. Under the guidance of their instructors, they successfully examined and performed dental procedures on all of our resident horses. We are immensely thankful for the opportunity to contribute to their education.

Horse dentistry is an essential aspect of equine health care that often goes under appreciated. Regular dental care is crucial for maintaining a horse's overall health, performance, and well-being.

Here are some key reasons why horse dentistry is so important:

  1. Prevention of Oral Pain and Discomfort: Horses' teeth continuously grow throughout most of their lives. Irregular wear can lead to sharp points and uneven surfaces, causing pain and discomfort. Regular dental check-ups and care help file down these overgrowths and correct misalignments, known as "floating", ensuring the horse can chew without pain and maintain a comfortable bite.

  2. Enhanced Feeding Efficiency: A horse with poorly maintained teeth may have difficulty chewing effectively, which can lead to undigested food and decreased nutrient absorption. Proper dental care ensures that a horse can grind its food thoroughly, aiding in digestion and maximising the nutritional value of their feed.

  3. Prevention of More Serious Health Issues: Dental problems can lead to secondary health issues such as weight loss, colic, and sinus infections. Regular dental examinations can catch and address minor issues before they develop into serious complications.

  4. Improved Behavioural and Training Outcomes: Dental issues can cause discomfort that manifests as behavioural problems. A horse that is experiencing oral pain may become head-shy, resistant to the bit, or exhibit other behavioural changes. Addressing dental issues can often resolve these behavioural problems, leading to better training sessions and a more cooperative horse.

  5. Longevity and Quality of Life: Just like in humans, good oral health is linked to overall longevity and quality of life in horses. Regular dental care helps ensure that horses live out their lives comfortably and healthily.

Veterinarians or equine dental specialists typically perform horse dentistry. These professionals have the training and tools to perform thorough examinations and treatments, ensuring that a horse’s dental health is managed effectively. For horse owners, understanding and prioritising dental care can make a significant difference in their horses' health and performance. Regular check-ups should be part of every horse’s routine care, highlighting the importance of equine dentistry in maintaining the well-being of these majestic animals.


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