Apr 14, 2011
Dentistry is a large part of equine medicine that is often poorly understood by many horse owners. Most horses need to have their teeth floated at least once a year to maintain peak performance and comfort for the horse. Late in the yearling year, before ever being introduced to a bit or training, the wolf teeth (upper first premolar) should be removed. Yearlings also have some of the sharpest points found on horses. Having high quality dentistry performed at this time will allow breaking and training to proceed without hindrance.
As three and four year olds, horses begin shedding their premolar caps. Caps are often retained, broken, shed unevenly, or are loose. This can cause the horses much discomfort. During these years, horses may need dentistry 3 - 4 times per year.
Dentistry has evolved over the past several years to recognize many more problems than just sharp teeth. Fractures of teeth are common and often require extraction. Recently, I extracted the upper fractured molar tooth pictured here, that came out in seven separate pieces. This spring, we found one horse suffering from a caudal hook over 1.5" long and perforating the upper palate. The sad thing was that this animal had dentistry performed by a lay dentist two months earlier.
If your equine dentist does not have sedation, analgesics, radiography, and antibiotics at their disposal your horse may be at risk.
Trust the veterinarians at Conley and Koontz Equine Hospital for all of your equine dental needs.
Dr. Ron Conley, DVM
Vice President of Client & Employee Development
Conley and Koontz Equine Hospital