Tutorial: Avoiding Equine Dental Problems

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For grazing animals like donkeys and horses, a good dentition is a must for survival. By age of five, a horse possesses around 36 to 44 teeth that come in different shapes, which are used for a variety of purpose. Like humans, horses have incisors, molars, and pre-molars. Some of them also have wolf teeth and canine teeth.

A horse has twelve incisors at the front of its mouth which are used for cutting grass while grazing. Sometimes, they are also used to defend against predators. Meanwhile, the molars are used to chew foods that are cut by incisors.

After birth, the first set of teeth erupts, and these are referred to as deciduous, milk, baby or temporary teeth. At age five, the second set of teeth which are considered permanent will begin to appear. [1]

Just like in humans, horses can suffer from a number of dental problems, most especially when owners failed to have them examined by professional veterinarians. Some of the most common signs that your horse is suffering from dental problems include drooling, spilling grain, quidding, cudding, and poor health conditions. [2] In many cases, equine dental problems are caused by continuous chewing over a long period of time. Oftentimes, these problems can result in behavioral issues and poor performance.

Other problems associated with equine dentition include loose, cracked, abscessed or infected teeth. The build-up of plaque, as well as the retention of deciduous teeth, is also experienced by some horses.

One of the most common dental problems experienced by horses is sharp edges. As the new set of teeth continues to erupt, sharp edges begin to develop which could trigger ulcers, lacerations, and soreness to the tongue, as well as in the side of the mouth. This makes chewing very painful to the horse, which may trigger them to spit out the hay.

The shedding of deciduous teeth can also cause problems to a horse because it can be painful. It can also lead horses to manifest bad habits like tossing their heads due to pain.

Decaying teeth also impose difficulties and pain to horses. When the teeth or rotted, or infected due to abnormal wear over a period of time, it can trigger the onset of other health problems in addition to poor performance owing to pain. Furthermore, when the upper cheek teeth decay, it can stimulate the occurrence of sinusitis. [3]

Want to learn more tips on how to avoid equine dental problems? Visit this website http://www.horsechannel.com/horse-exclusives/avoiding-dental-problems.aspx to discover valuable information on this topic.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horse_teeth
[2] http://horses.about.com/od/horsehealth/qt/dental-care-for-horses.htm
[3] http://www.baedt.com/problems_5386.html

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