17 December 2009

Straight From the Horse's Mouth

Your horse's mouth needs to be in balance. If it is out of sync, it can affect the ability to chew food, accept the bit and move in a relaxed and balanced way. What happens if there are problems?

  • Head shaking and tossing
  • Refusing to be bridled
  • Rearing
  • Unable to work on the bit
  • Poor transitions and stiffness
  • Weight loss, poor coat, anxious behavior
  • Drooling
  • Colic

Horses that eat hay and grain rather than grazing on grass pastures need more frequent dental work. This is because grass contains silica which naturally grinds down the horse's teeth.

Testing capillary refill time is a good way to tell if a horse is dehydrated or in shock. You can check this by pressing your thumb firmly against the gums just above the front teeth until the skin loses color. Then release your finger and see how long it takes for the gums to regain their normal color.

As horses age, their teeth go from rectangular shaped to triangular.

Check for hidden wolf teeth, aka permanent premolars, that sometimes fail to erupt through your horse's gum. These can be a source of great discomfort for you horse and may be causing problems for both of you.

Video - Inside the Horse's Mouth. A little longer, but interesting view.

http://www.iaedonline.com/ International Association of Equine Dentistry
http://www.iaeqd.org/ The International Association of Equine Dentistry
http://www.equinedentalacademy.com/ Academy of Equine Dentistry
http://www.amscheqdentistry.com/ American School of Equine Dentistry
http://www.walkermgt.com/AVDF.htm American Veterinary Dental Society

Questions or comments about the mouth? Leave them in the comments.


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