Man­ag­ing foal and young horse teeth

Wangaratta Chronicle - North East Regional Extra - - NEWS - with Amy Wal­dron

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.

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