BAD BREATH AND QUIDDING FIRST SIGNS OF TROUBLE
THERE are two key considerations to prevent dental problems — regular check-ups and ensure that your horse’s diet contains enough long fibre.
÷ For youngsters, it is sensible to start routine dental care in the first year of life, with check-ups every year thereafter.
÷ Once your horse reaches 12 years of age, or if he has abnormal dental conformation, the time between check-ups may need to be reduced to every six months.
÷ Such check-ups should be performed by a vet or suitably qualified equine dental technician.
÷ You can help your horse by providing at least half of his diet as good quality long fibre. If you have an older horse, he may require special attention with his diet, especially if he is missing teeth and struggles to chew long fibre. Fibre replacements offer a good solution in such cases, but speak to your vet with any concerns or to an equine nutritionist for feeding advice.
Many horses will suffer silently from dental disease, so it is important to have regular check-ups to ensure their mouth is healthy. Signs that can indicate there is a problem are:
÷ halitosis (bad smelling breath);
÷ quidding — dropping partially chewed food;
÷ reduced appetite/difficulty eating/slow eating; ÷ food packing within cheeks;
÷ poorly digested food in droppings;
÷ weight loss;
÷ difficulties when ridden such as an unsteady head carriage.