Managing foal and young horse teeth
MOST owners are very dedicated in the caring and up keep of the adult horse’s dental health, but the foal or young horse is often not thought about, maybe simply because they’re ‘young’ and considered in good health. A foal’s first (middle) deciduous (baby) incisors (front teeth) erupt at about 6-9 days of age, followed by the second incisors at 6-9 weeks and the third incisors at about 6-9 months. The shedding/loss of deciduous (baby) teeth is an entirely natural process that generally does not require any intervention or assistance in the process, but like any natural occurrence sometimes it doesn’t go to plan. Regular dental examinations (six monthly) on young horses is most important to ‘put them on track’ for a healthy mouth in the future. The young horse will lose 24 deciduous teeth from the age of about 2.5 years right up until about five years of age, they will erupt 36-44 permanent/ adult teeth during this period (depending on age and sex). During the shedding process of the deciduous tooth, it is common to see what is known as ‘caps’ which is the remainder of the deciduous tooth on top of the permanent tooth as it emerges, this can cause maleruption (slow or incorrect eruption) and malalignment of the permanent tooth, occasionally fragments of the deciduous tooth remain in the gum causing discomfort (especially when eating) and may lead to infection if not removed. So the next beautiful baby that hits the ground or you welcome into your life remember to ‘put him/her on track’ for a happy and healthy mouth from a young age.