Horses of all ages depend on the ability to chew. If food is not properly chewed, it is not digested efficiently, which can lead to chronic colic, choke, weight loss, and nutritional deficiencies. Regular, preventative, dental care prolongs the life of the horse’s teeth (and the horse) by recognizing and treating abnormalities early on, before they become major problems.

Oral problems, such as tooth infections, periodontal (gum) disease, and oral ulcers from sharp dental points, cause pain and discomfort and can affect athletic performance. A painful horse will not perform to its full potential or have a good quality of life.

These oral problems can only be found with a comprehensive oral exam performed by a veterinarian. Sedation, a bright light, an oral speculum, a mirror and probes allow us to thoroughly examine all aspects of the horse’s mouth. Without sedation, we cannot get a good look into your horse’s mouth to perform a complete exam. Sedation also reduces stress for the horse and makes the procedure safer.

A comprehensive oral exam should be performed annually. Only a veterinarian is trained and licensed to perform this exam and any related dental procedures, including floating. Most horses need their teeth floated annually. However, for some problems, more frequent floating is needed. The fall is an ideal time for this procedure.

Colts Head Veterinary Services is proud to be on the forefront of equine dentistry. We offer routine dentistry (floating aka dental equilibration) and advanced procedures such as the treatment of periodontal disease and wolf tooth, incisor, canine tooth, and cheek teeth (molar) extractions. We are also the only practice in the area with the ability to take intra-oral radiographs. Dr. McAndrews has had special training to perform these advanced procedures.

Read more about common equine dentistry questions and other dentistry topics.