September 4, 2013 11:14
When horses begin to have behaviour problems the number one thing that we should be ruling out is pain. If the horse has never had an issue and all of a sudden it is tossing its head, rearing or even bucking there might be an underlying cause of pain that the horse is responding to. This does not just relate to teeth issues but any body pain in general.
Behaviour signs relating to teeth issues might include chewing the bit while being ridden, tossing or shaking their head, pulling on the bit (up/down or left/right), bridle resistance, rearing, unexplained shying around the head, extremely high/low head carriage, refusing, sticking the tongue out, holding their head to one side while eating, refusing to turn when pressure is applied to the bit, washing hay in water bucket before eating, refusing to eat hard feed, or pouching feed.
The horse might also show some clinical signs including dropping feed while eating, quidding, loss of weight, whole feed in manure, nasal or eye discharge, pouching feed, irregular mandibular movement, cheek sensitivity, colic or colic symptoms, excess saliva, halitosis, bleeding from the mouth, depression, sores in the mouth, face swelling and even choke.
We need to pay attention to these signs and conduct regular dental care for our horses every 6-12 months. By doing regular dental care we can reduce the amount of issues relating to tooth pain in our horses. You can check your own horses teeth but a veterinarian should routinely check and float your horses teeth.
Thermal imaging can be done on a horses' mouth to check for pain and inflammation:
This website has lots of good information including ways that you can check for pain and ways to see if regular wear on teeth is being performed (proper chewing motion):
This website shows some good pictures of some tooth issues and gives lots of signs:
A list of common dental problems can be found here:
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