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Horses’ teeth affect their whole body not just the way they can chew.

posted May 6, 2012, 6:09 PM by Claire Murray
Areas affected by a horse’s dentition:

General health:
  • The amount of nutrients absorbed from food eaten is related to how well the food is chewed. So it stands to reason that a mouth that is not functioning to its full potential is not going to allow the horse to make the best use of the feed it eats. Colic or diahorrea can result from dental problems.
  • Loose or infected teeth can set up a low grade infection throughout the whole body.
Temperament:
  • A horse that is in pain due to imbalances within its mouth often shows temperament problems. Many clients report back that after full mouth dentistry their horses have become much happier, quieter, are no longer head shy. The list goes on and on.
Muscles:
  • Horses with dental problems can not move to their full potential and will often show sore muscles and/or muscle wastage especially over the ‘top line’.
Vertebral alignment:
  • Unbalanced teeth set up compensations throughout the body. If your horse needs to see a chiropractor more than a couple of times it probably has dental problems.
Performance:
  • Many ridden problems are teeth related. For example being above the bit, on the forehand, tilting the head, chewing the bit, opening the mouth, better on one rein than the other, difficult to stop, reluctant to take up the contact etc.
It must be remembered that not all horses show outward signs of their suffering. For example unbeknown to the owner and rider an overseas horse that was short listed for the Olympics was found to have lower #11 ramps (last molars at the back of the mouth on the bottom jaw) that were so protuberant that they were wearing into the soft tissue and bone of the upper jaw. Unfortunately this is not an uncommon occurrence but it demonstrates how some horses will just grin and bear their discomfort. I Feel it is our responsibility to ensure they are not suffering in this manner.

If your horse has only had dentistry with out sedation and using hand floats it will have dental problems!

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