Horse Dental Care by Mobile Vet: What to Expect From Texas Equine Dentistry
Horses are herbivores, adapted to grazing on grass steadily throughout the day. A healthy horse can easily eat 15–25 pounds of food per day—food that requires effective chewing and grinding for proper digestion and nutritional support.
An adult horse has various types of teeth, including:
- Incisors—Located at the front of the mouth and used for biting off grass and plants
- Cheek teeth—Located at the back of the mouth and used for chewing plants and grain
- Canine teeth—Additional teeth between the incisors and the cheek teeth, mostly found in stallions and geldings
For animals so uniquely dependent upon their teeth for survival, regular equine dental care is a must!
A Safe, Gentle Approach to Equine Dental Care: How It Works
Dr. David Warren offers a safe, gentle approach to equine dental care.
A general examination to start
I start with a general health examination. This includes observing general body condition, palpation of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), and listening to the horses heart to detect murmurs and arrhythmias. This is a good time to discuss any dental related issues such as weight loss, dropping feed, and bit/performance problems.
Sedation is the next step. I use the safest drug protocol to mildly sedate patients so they remain relaxed during the whole dental procedure. Sedation is essential to performing good dentistry in horses. I prefer to not restrain a horse by nose twitch or tying its head up to any structure. Sometimes I administer a reversal drug when the procedure is complete to help the horse wake up sooner.
Sedation Takes Effect
As the sedation takes effect, I manipulate the horses’ mandible to determine the amount of side to side movement of its lower jaw in relation to its upper jaw. This gives me a starting point to help measure how efficient the mastication is prior to the dental procedure.
Using the right tool to prevent injury
A full mouth speculum is used to prevent injury to horses gums and tongue when floating teeth. This instrument is necessary to allow proper access to the back of the horses mouth and perform a complete dental exam. .
Visualizing the teeth
I use a bright light specifically designed for equine dentistry to visualize all teeth
Performing the procedures
I use modern equipment to perform equilibration and other dental procedures. Most work is done with an air powered file developed specifically for equine dentistry that allows me to reach areas of the mouth that are difficult to access with most instruments.
The right equipment prevents injury
Various attachments are used that are specific for certain teeth and areas of the mouth to perform proper dentistry and minimize trauma to soft tissues.
Cleaning the horse's mouth
The mouth is flushed after the procedure is complete to remove tooth fragments.
All dental instruments are properly cleaned with an iodine disinfectant between patients. I require water and electricity to be available on-site for all exams.