Fully Accredited
British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA)
British Veterinary Dental Association (BVDA)
Member of British Association of Equine Dental Technicians (BAEDT)

Tel: 07855 792955
Frequently Asked Questions

Why do horses need dental work?

Due to the domestication of equidae (horses and donkeys) we have taken an animal that would naturally spend 16-18 hours a day grazing, travelling up to 20 miles a day in order to find enough food, and we have stabled or restricted their ability to roam, as well as change the type of forage available to them.

Horses’ teeth are designed to deal with hard grasses, however we now provide our horses with maintained paddocks, with soft lush grasses, and when grass is not readily available we supplement their diet with either hay or haylage which is equally soft. Horses no longer naturally wear their teeth as much as they are designed to causing sharp enamel points and protuberant teeth to develop.

These dental overgrowths can restrict their ability to work in an outline when ridden and driven.It is normal for a horse’s mandible (lower jaw) to move backwards and forwards as the head moves up and down respectively. Thus any overgrowth such as hooks on the first upper cheek teeth or on the last lower cheek teeth will inhibit this movement and result in reluctance to working in a correct outline.

Often horses rely on opening their mouths to allow their mandible to slide forwards. This is often seen as a sign of evasion and results in the application of a tight noseband.

How often does my horse or pony need dental check ups?

Dental care should start as a yearling to remove sharp edges and identify any future problems.

After my first visit I will recommend a dental maintenance plan of either 6 monthly or 12 monthly dependant on your horse’s age and dental condition.

What does it involve?

A thorough examination of the horse’s head and mouth is carried out in order to assess dental symmetry, balance and highlight any dental disease or abnormal wear.

With the use of dental instruments the balancing or equilibration of the teeth is achieved by filing or burring away any malocclusions.

The reducing of any protuberant, blocking or restricting teeth will give full lateral excursion and better occlusion.

  • Relieving pain.
  • Increasing tooth life.
  • Enhancing performance.
  • Improving overall balance and condition.

How long does each visit take?

The complete procedure will take around 45 minutes (on average). The first time I see your horse it may take slightly longer. A full explanation of what procedures are needed and a dental chart will be given as a record of what has been done.

What are the signs that my horse needs dental attention?

If your horse has not had any dental work in the last year it would certainly need checking. Below are some signs that they need some attention.

  • Your horse starts to change their eating habits.
  • The horse may dribble feed, wash feed in the water bucket, hold the head to the side or not eat at all.
  • It's breath might be unpleasant and may have a swollen face.
  • The horse may roll the hay into a ball and drop it on the ground, this is quidding.
  • Lack of condition
  • Poor performance
  • Change in performance
  • Weight loss
  • Excessive salivation or drooling
  • The chewing of doors or fencing
  • Rearing
  • Head throwing while being ridden
  • Stiffness on one rein
  • Head tilting while eating or riding
  • Choking
  • Failure to perform with most types of equipment
  • Abnormal carriage of the tongue
  • Bad general attitude
  • Discharge from the eyes or nostrils
  • Fistulous discharge from the jaw or face

Does my horse need sedating?

Most procedures that are done on a routine basis are well tolerated by horses and require no sedation. With calm handling, even the most nervous or head shy horse will accept having their teeth done.

There are some procedures however, such as extracting wolf teeth or loose teeth that will require sedation. These drugs can only be prescribed and administered by a vet.

Case Study - Tongue Damage
A 5yr old cob, riding horse without any apparent symptoms proved to have extensive, aged scarring and a tongue a third of its normal size.
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Case Study - Gum Damage
A 10yr old showjumper / hunter with a history of becoming ‘strong’ whilst being ridden.
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Pricing - One set fee: £45.00
Horse Jumping
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