Advanced Equine Dentistry
Proper dental care with thorough examinations
is the cornerstone to a long and happy life!
While all three of our veterinarians have extensive knowledge of equine dental care,
Dr. Louise Batt has completed additional training and certification in advanced equine dentistry. She has a passion for dental care due to the fact that every horse can benefit from it! Check our our Dental FAQs below to learn more
What Makes Up a Dental Visit?
Dental visits always start with a thorough oral exam to assess both the endodontic and periodontic health. Horses are lightly sedated in order for our doctors to perform a stress-free exam and odontoplasty (float). Our practice also employs an orascope to photograph and assess the oral health of your horse. Scroll down to learn more about this equipment!
Odontoplasty, also referred to as "floating", is the process of rasping off the sharp points of the teeth in the horse's mouth. Unlike humans, horses teeth grow continuously throughout their lives. Similar to us they require regular maintenance. Everything from pasture pets to competition horses can benefit from routine dental care.
Diagnostics & Routine Care
If warranted, our doctors will perform dental radiographs to assess dental health. This can assist in diagnosing dental diseases such as EORTH (scroll down to learn more!). We recommend that horses have their teeth floated at least once annually. Some horses need to be examined more frequently due to anatomical abnormalities or disease.
What is an Orascope?
An orascope is a diagnostic camera used to assess and photograph the oral health of our patients. This is a technology adapted from the human medical field and is relatively new to the equine world. We are excited to bring this advanced technology to our patients!
What is EOTRH?
Equine Odontoclastic Tooth Resorption and Hypercementosis is a syndrome in older horses that results in resorptive lesions of the incisors and canine teeth. There is currently no known cause. As the disease progresses, the incisors start to resorb (or basically dissolve). Eventually, the affected teeth become loose or even fracture. This can be a very painful condition resulting in weight loss, head-shyness, and change in attitude.
Treatment typically involves extraction of the affected teeth. Horses do quite will without their incisors, utilizing the cheek teeth for grinding and chewing. Early diagnosis is key to prevent pain, inflammation, weight loss, and secondary infections.
Diagnosis is relatively simple with the use of dental radiography. We recommend horses over the age of 15 be screened for EOTRH during their annual dental exam and odontoplasty.
Do minis and donkeys need dental care too?
Absolutely! Even our mini and donkey equine friends can benefit from routine dental exams and floats. Like horses, their teeth grow continuously. They are herbivores who are constantly chewing and need their teeth to function well in order to survive. Their dental health is just as important!
I don't even ride my horse. Do they still need a dental float?
Absolutely. Dental health is about so much more than reliability under saddle (although it does play a role in that too!). Horses need their teeth to function well in order to survive. If they are painful or uncomfortable due to a dental issue, this can lead to other concerns such as weight loss, irritability, and secondary infection. Even our pasture pet friends need routine dental care in order to live life to the fullest!
At what age should I start dental exams for my horse?
We recommend beginning dental exams at the age of 2. Young horses, similar to humans, have deciduous teeth ("baby" teeth) that they shed throughout years 2 to 5. Sometimes these teeth have trouble shedding and need assistance, and sometimes they can rub on the gums and cause irritation. If we can intervene and help with the comfort during this stage, the horse can have a better quality of life!