Did you know that dental problems are very common in horses? Because our equine friends are grazing animals, their choppers really take a beating. Over time, their teeth can crack, develop sharp points, or wear unevenly. Horses can also be afflicted by issues caused from retained baby teeth, wolf teeth, tartar buildup, ill-fitting bits, and/or infections. These issues can be very painful, and can have a huge effect on your horse’s health and well-being. A Helotes, TX vet lists some warning signs to look for below.
Does your horse shy away when you put a halter or bridle on him? There can be several reasons for this, including dental issues. Your horse may also toss his head or resist the bit. Or, you may find it hard to get him to respond to the bit. Some horses bolt or spook when their mouths are hurting. Others just become rather sullen and complacent.
Your horse may never have minty-fresh breath (except of course immediately after eating a minty treat) but his breath shouldn’t be rank, either. Bad breath and/or a foul odor around your horses’ mouth can be a warning sign.
Horses with dental issues are often sloppy eaters. They may also eat very slowly, or chew on one side of his mouth. Your horse may also spit out hay after chewing it, which is called quidding. These symptoms are dangerous in and of themselves, as they increase the risk of choking. They can also prevent your horse from absorbing all the nutrients in his food, which can in turn cause weight loss, malnutrition, and/or poor condition.
A little discharge here and there isn’t necessarily unusual, but if your horse seems to always have a runny nose, he could have dental trouble and/or sinus infections. This also applies with drooling. For instance, many horses drool when wearing a bit. However, if you notice frequent or heavy drooling, contact your vet.
If your horse’s teeth are bothering him, he may find drinking cold water unpleasant. This can be quite problematic, as it can lead to dehydration, which can then cause problems like colic. Giving your horse warm water may help until the issue is resolved.
Do you know or suspect that your horse has dental issues? Contact us, your Helotes, TX vet hospital, today!