Dental structure of Horses:
Horses generally have a set of 36-42 teeth. There are 12
incisors or front teeth, 24 molars or back teeth, four canine
teeth situated between the incisors and the molars, and two
wolf teeth placed just above the molars. These wolf teeth
may later cause some problems. Hence, the equine dentist removes
Importance Of Tooth Care:
Dental care is one of the most important aspects involved
in bringing up a physically fit, well-maintained horse. Health,
performance and comfort of the horse are all dependent on
a good set of teeth.
Horse's teeth grow continuously until the age of 25-30.
Horses mainly feed on grass, which contains silica. Silica,
being an abrasive, wears down the horse's teeth over a period.
Horses may also face other tooth problems such as infected
teeth, loose teeth, tooth abscess and retained baby teeth.
Therefore, regular dental checkup is necessary to ensure
that the horse doesn't face any dental problems.
Following are some of the problems that may have to be encountered
if the dental health of the horse is compromised:
* Low Performance Level:
The performance level of the horses is bound to suffer if
they are having any dental problem. The horse won't be able
to concentrate on the task at hand and the horse may start
tossing and tilting his head, lugging, bolting, and rearing.
These are known as 'pain avoiding' behaviors of the horse.
This act of horse may also prove to be fatal for the person
riding the horse.
* Health Problems:
If due to dental problems, the horse is unable to bite or
chew properly, it won't be able to break the grass down to
a size suitable for digestion. This may result in complications
such as impaction and colic. This condition of the horse may
further aggravate if he is devoid of water or faces dehydration
During the winter season, this problem may further complicate
because, old horses often suffer from gum disease that restricts
them from drinking cold water and thus may cause dehydration.
Also, consuming a large number of improperly chewed foods
may cause intestinal problems, since the food might get stuck
in the intestine. This can lead to blockage or impaction.
Due to this, the horse won't be able to carry out the process
of excretion and it may then become prone to colic.
* Economy of the diet:
Horse feed is very costly. Therefore, if the horse isn't
able to have his feed properly, it'll consequently result
in the wastage of expensive feed. Thus, taking good care of
the horse's teeth will enable the horse to fully utilize the
given food and avoid money wastage.
Dental care of the horse is thus of utmost importance, since
it affects not only its teeth and mouth but also results in
other health problems. Therefore, regular dental checkups
should be done under the guidance of a well-qualified vet.
By maintaining good dental conditions, the horse will remain
healthy and can perform to the best of his ability.
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