I would like to see something on the importance of proper dental work related to training horses.
I would like to see something on the importance of proper dental work related to training horses.
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This is a Good Subject, I would like to see.
Are there behaviors that are signs of needing dental work?
Hi Amberpony and Stephen,
Sure there are signs that indicate your horse is uncomfortable in his mouth, starting with canine-and wolfteeth. Other signs when on the bit may be headshaking, hollowing of the back, tong over bit, going behind the bit.
When horses are loosing part of their food from the mouth, spitting out rolls of grass, I would have a check-up of the teeth too. In general the vet should check the teeth twice a year, rasping might be necessary once a year, depending on how much natural wear from rougher forage the horse has.
This important issue is often neglected.
I am aware of these signs but wanting a Lesson on it would be Good. Pictures speak louder then words. The Header here is University Suggestion Box (tell us the lessons you'd like to see on the Uni)So we are asking for a Lesson with possible a Guest Vet to Talk about New Procedures - I keep hearing people talk about power tools during dental work. Show us the signs of a horse having tooth issues. Poorly Chewed Hay. The way the horse moves his head. How he acts on the bit. Pictures are better then words.
I agreed with Stephen that a Lesson would be nice. To many people over look hay in the water trough. They also constantly mess with the bridle to make it more comfortable for the horse when the horse Really needs his teeth taken care of. I purchased a horse in so much pain from his teeth that he attacked People, Even the Vet! But once his teeth were floated he was fine.
I have Met no one that has there horses teeth checked 2x a year unless the horse is Very Old. Once a Year yes at a Yearly exam but 2x a year no. If we had the kind of Money to call out a vet every time our horse Stubbed his toe we would be attending Monty's Clinics in Person.
I thought Monty was wanting to educate the world in better ways to treat horses. There was a calling for the Students to Suggest Lessons. These are Great Goals and the kind of I care about people attitude I joined for. His Prices were Reasonable and the New Video Quaility is Wonderful.
I have only been getting dental work done the last two years and I can now see a big improvement in the training process. Wish I would have known about it for the eight years that I had not been getting it done while traing/ starting colts. I train outside horses and can now say that I cannot go back on not doing dental work. Dental work should be done twice a year on horse under five ( I have done it since I leaned about dental work) because their teeth are ever changing. Retained caps sometimes and many other problems. When the horse is comfortable in their mouth then the rider/ trainer is safe. Dental work is new to me these last couple years but I greatly see the importance of proper dental work. Anybody sending out horse for training should be getting dental work done on their horse. Your trainer and horse will thank you a lot. I know that I am thankful to get the dental work done.
I have had experience's before dental work of horses rearing, rearing and flipping over, bucking, etc. I am sure that dental work would have eliminated those problems. I have heard of numerous tragic accidents (ending in death for both rider and horse) on horses and when the horse head was looked at there were major problems with the horses teeth. Education is needed for dental work as it is gaining respect and people are starting to see (from my experience as a trainer) the IMPORTANCE OF PROPER DENTAL WORK.
Looking forward to seeing a video soon on dental work. Spring time is a great time for dental work as many people are starting to ride colts as well as their old trained horses. To me dental work ranks right up there with non violent horse training. Please get some videos up soon!
Stephen ( Alberta,Canada)
If any other members are interested in a good book on Equine Dentistry there is a book I know off and have read. Very educational. It is written by Dale Jeffery and called- Oral Health in Equidae . That would be someone very neat to interview.
I would like to hear from someone who practices Natural Balance Dentistry, which is kind of an alternative form of horse dentistry.
These are all really good posts about the importance of caring for the Whole Horse. I have had natural dentistry on the two horses I adopted, they were both head shaking and agitated on the first ride with the snaffle bit they had been used to. I immediately switched to a bitless bridle by Dr. Cook, and it all ended. AFter their dental exam, they needed some work, now they are fine with a a three-section bit. I still prefer bitless riding but they need more training to understand leg cues, and the bit, which they were trained with, is what they have come to understand. We are almost ready to go bitless forever!
I have always had my horses teeth checked twice a year. I have just bought a youngster 4 years old but he has done nothing, I did join up and worked with the dually as per the equus uni. And he has been so good but when we decided to have his teeth checked before we did any bitting he was ok till the dentist started to use the rasp then he went straight up several time so we stopped I will do some extensive dually work for the next week and may be some light sedation and have another go in a weeks time. Anyone got any other ideas to make this experience better for my lithle man
Your direction seems to be good, what you could train this week is putting your finger in his mouth, starting where the bars are. Next step could be putting some harder material between his teeth, maybe good tasting with honey or applesauce. Start "rasping" as the dentist would do. This whole procedure ofcourse after a Join-up and with the Dually halter, so he'll find comfort in standing still even if you do such "silly" things like fiddling in his mouth. Give him time between attempts, let him walk a few steps, so he can digest what happened. If you feel safer, let somebody else do the dentist-part and do the schooling on the Dually yourself, although I think it's an easier situation for the horse if it's just you handling him, as he's used to.
You didn't mention if the dentist uses an electrical device, if so you'd have to desensitize to the sound and vibration of it. Like you would desensitize for clippers, building up from the whithers towards the head.
Keep us posted on how you're doing!
I just had my horses teeth floated two weeks ago.
Some of the signs that it needs to be done are:
They will leak from their mouth when they take a drink of water.
When they eat their feed it will fall out of their mouth.
You will not hear them clearly when they chew, hay or grass.
It is recommended that their teeth be floated at least every year.
If you have been putting a bit in your horse's mounth on a regular basis there should be no problem when the spreader in put into your horse's mouth. They will already be use to your hands and an implement in their mouths.
Most use a hand file when doing this as it is more accurate and can do no damage to the horse's mouth. It may be slower but it is less traumatic.
Hope this helps. Having your horse's teeth floated often will keep your horse happy and healthy.
Amberpony it would be nice is all our suggestions were put into a lesson. When people respond to postings they are trying to not only validate the persons questions but to offer their experiences. There are a number of website that you can visit that will give you the information that you are looking for with regards to dental care for horses. Most Universities that teach veterinarians will have lots of info available. University of Davis is about 5 miles from where my horse is and here is an article that is available on their website
While there is no question that having their teeth floated is a tramatic experience and a good vet will give the horse a mild seditive to relieve the stress. There is no pain when the teeth are floated but it is a noisy propostion at best.
Personally I have my horses teeth floated yearly and I check the condition about 9 or 10 months since the last float. I do not recommend waiting until you see signs that the horse is having teeth problems before you have their teeth floated. It would be the same as you having to work or go to school everyday with a sore mouth.
This becomes a great discussion!
Let's think of what happens, when teeth grow and grind uneven. This would have an effect on the mandibular joints, so the tension an asymmetry would cause the whole spine and even pelvis to be under tension. What we call straightness is not possible if the teeth are not in line. Let alone the bit being in the mouth, when uneven teeth prevent chewing in a natural way.
Very true, very true.
If any of us have had a problem with our mouth, be it a tooth or TMJ we know how miserable we feel, all over, everything hurts.
You can imagine how the horse must feel. He needs to be able to chew evenly and properly to be nourished and if he cannot chew his food properly how much nourishment is he getting?
And everything will be out of sorts, especially their nature.
Have a great day.
It is obviously extremely important to get the horses mouth and teeth comfortable for so many reasons, not least because it is cruel to ask a horse to work or perform for us if he is feeling sore or Evan just uncomfortable, but what I would like to hear from others is how do we go about this proceedure if the horse in question for what ever reasons does not like his teeth or mouth touched, I would like to get my horses to except this proceedure rather than have him sedated but at this point in time it looks like I will have to sedate as it is imperative to get his very sharpe teeth floated. So anyone out there got any ideas please let us all know
As it seems to be an emergency you will need a shortcut to desensitizing him.
Are you able to touch his mouth area at all?
If so, then, take a plactic bag and rub it all over his face, making losts of noise.
Then use another object and do the same thing until finally you can put a bit in his mouth and he is comfortable with this and will allow someone else do it also.
The spreader they use is heavier than a bit but it is similiar in feeling.
Might I make another suggestion, when you are done with each object, take him for a short walk, this will relax him.
Also, after his teeth are floated do the same thing, rub him, talk with him, this will make the experience a positive thing for him to remember.
I just made an appointment to have my 8 year old paint geldings teeth floated next week. I've owned him for 2 years now and I'm sure that it's never been done...the equine dentist specialist will also look at my 2.5 year old colt to make sure is teeth are coming along and if there are any problems. Cost is $95.00 for a visit where he works...second horse is looked at for free. If more detailed and involved work is needed we can make a financial and time plan..I get paid once a month so it will revolve around that...now will someone please pay for the crown I need? Lol!
Without sedation you cannot do a proper job of dentistry. I wouldn't want to be the one dealing with the horse without sedation for dentistry. Someone would be more likely get hurt doing it without sedation. If you keep your horses up to date they get easier and easier to do. A lot less fight when the horse is sedated and you get the job done a lot quicker/ properly. Detailed work is what I want done so I know that the horse is 100% comfortable in his mouth. It does cost money to get a proper job done but then when are horses cheap. Worth it in the long run. Also if your horses are left more then 12 months between dentistry their teeth start getting sharp again and you wouldn't know they were done the previous year (Speaking from personal experience). Like I earlier if someone wants to read a neat book on proper dentistry check out a book by Dale Jeffery called- Oral Health in Equidae . Very neat and informative reading.
Thank you Stephen,
When I had STAR'S teeth done this year she was so calm, without sedation, UNTIL they started to file and then she became so upset she was pulling.
After it was finished I did not get to immediately calm her, so I can only imagine what a trauma it will be for her next time.
I'm going to look for that book, thank you.
Hi. This dentistry discussion has been very informative for me as my new youngster is the only horse I have had that has not stood for the dentist. So a new experience for me, and has reinforced my belief that people who have very young foals and youngster should handle their mouths and put fingers in and other objects like a wooden spoon handle, but this would be the perfect way, now people like me have to deal with the older horse that will not stand. Just to update on mine, we tried a light sedation but this did not work either he was quite dangerous, Evan after I had worked with the dually, and join up, and putting the wooden spoon in, and working his mouth. Anyway now it is obvious that we have to get the vet to fully sedate to get this work done, apparently he is very sore in the mouth, so this has to be done. May be if we don't let them get this bad again we can proceed without sedation.
Ronda- To get the book by Dale Jeffery called- Oral Health in Equidae go to www.horsedentistry.com and look under the book page. It is on there for $90. It is the first one. 300 and some pages of lots of information. This book came recommended to me by my Equine Dentist I have been using for years now.
Thank you, Stephan.
I appreciate this.
No problem Ronda. We are all here to help.
I would like to hear peoples thoughts on horse sedation for dentistry work. Is it really possible to get a horse to stand while the dentist is working in its mouth with mechanical tools without being sedated?
I just had alot of dental work done on Romeo last week. He is 9-11.... He was under sedation thank god and he did very well..the cost was $210.00 and I am really glad I got it done. I was noticing him dropping his head and rooting forward due to a dental problem. I can't wait to ride him now that the work has been done. It was a really great experience and I learned so much. A bit seat has been created and numerous problems resolved. My equine dentist will return in 6 months. In December I plan on having my colts teeth floated.
Oh I would have never ever been able to get Romeo to stand for all the work he had done if not under sedation. It took over an hour at least. From start to finish diagnosing problems and looking at two horses, write ups with charts went from 9:00 to noon. The contraption that holds their mouth open is really intense and Romeo being timid and head shy would have probably thrown a fit and hurt himself. Definitely sedation. Never without it, IMO.
Imagine the dentist working on your teeth without being numbed why would you want to fight with your horse and possible injuring the vet as well as yourself
Hi all, yes, this discussion is very interesting. So here is my experience: My horse's dentist is actually a vet who specialized in dentistry. The advantage is that he can sedate a horse and would check on him first, like heart rate, proper health for a setation. I prepared my two year old gelding as good as I thought I could for the dentist. At the first appointment HERO jumped into the ceiling of the box because the dentist got him walking backwarts until there was no more space and naturally HERO reared and even stroke out forward. When the dentist came back for the "big treatment" I had trained HERO in the meantime to accept me on his mouth and into it when standing in the angle of the box. Actually he was sedated before he had to show if he would accept also the dentist checking on his mouth in that position but I felt saver and more secure having done the training before. If the dentist would have provocated again Hero in that manner I would have asked him to work slowlier and take his time. I feel so much safter if I have to stand for my opinion re handling my horse if I realy have trained certain situations and know what I am talking about. On 13. of September, at the big examination, we found that on of the incisors in the upper middle had yet been changed. The one beside in the middle was loose and the dentist took it off. And then he told me the middle incisors right beneeth in front have to be taken out too - but these were still fixed in and, beleive me, to tear these out would have been impossible without sedation ! I was a little worried but as this guy is doing his job since years and has a great reputation I just trusted him and tried to be a good assistent. Be fit for a longer date with the dentist, it can be exhausting physically ! He uses electrical equipment for floating, and works presicely and quickly. He told me to have him check on HEROs theeth twice a year until all teeth changes are done. The dentist was happy to find a wolfe tooth in the lower jaw where they occur very rarely. Another one of this kind was found in the upper jaw. I reached right into my horses jaw and examined the molars with my finger, amazing how deeply my hand disapeared in his mouth ! Until the four incisors have been grown out enough to be used properly they look funny at their borders: they are zig zaged ! Hero found out immediately how to tear out the grass with his lips and he didn't loos weight because of that or felt bad after the dentist finished his work. I go on to get him used to have his mouth checked on and I definetely will have the dentist check on him without sedation but bigger things I think are less stressful and quicker for both, horse and humans with a sedation done by a vet or like in our case, a vet-dentist. I agree with you and would be very happy about lessons on how to prepare the horse for the dentist and about what to look for if choosing the right dentist. I will learn from my dentist the next time we see him how to "catch" and hold a horses tongue without hurting or even braking the little tongue band. Interesting, isn't it ?
Yes I had to stick my hand way down into my horses mouth and feel everything the dentist was talking about....it scared me to death...lol... There was a lot going on. I can't wait to ride him this weekend to see the difference in how he holds his head etc.
All this dental work stuff is really neat. Learning curve when you first get introduced to it. Scares me thinking that I started horses for 8 years without any dental work done. As a trainer I won't start horses anymore without proper dental work. Easier on the horse and trainer.
Hi Stephen, what do you think about proper training for the horse BEVORE he sees the dentist the first time AND ongoing training to get the horse to accept dental examination more and more even when not sedated ? Our dentist ended up in the hospital last week with a totally broken shinbone. A horse he has been knowing well stroke out and got him. I am wondering if he was to quick on him, not sensitive, too sure of himself not to be hurt ? He said he would not have had a chance to jump away. My opinion is he AND the owner should have known that he is crossing a line, that this horse will not take the treatment. I will work with my horse on accepting mouth examination until the dentist comes back to see him in six month. Any comments about that ? Cheers, VioBerlin
I think it is a great idea to get your horse use to have someone put their hand is his mouth and grabbing his tongue. It will help you keep track of how your horse wears his teeth down Some horses can go for at least two years without floating their teeth while others need it every six months or so. For the safety of all those people that will be handling your horse for his dental work, sedating him is the safest method. To make it less traumatic for my horse I make sure that his mouth is rinsed really well. If it took a one time to complete the work I will give him a small dose of bute which helps alleviate the discomfort of having his mouth open for such a long time.
I stay with him until he has recovered from the sedation and then I dive him his pellet feed and sometimes I will put an cut up apple in the bucket as well.
I don't know of any more that can have his teeth floated without a sedative unless they are completely restrained which would be very traumatic for them.
Yes proper training before dental helps out a lot as well. When the horse doesn't fear the handler and is used to being handled by their head/ mouth then that helps out a lot. Then the horse is easier to work with. Take your time and work with the horse not forcing things on them. Let them think and it becomes their idea. When it becomes the horses idea it becomes easier and easier. The dentist I use opens the speculum one notch and then closes it so the horse realizes that there is life after being opened up. The dentist will give the horse breaks from having their mouths opened so the sedation will last longer. The less stimulation the better. When the horse is working good get work and get the job done. You have to learn how to read your horse in situations. Horses are a big animal and if they are reacting rather then thinking it can be dangerous. Horse need to be done twice a year when they are under 5 and at least once a year when they are over 5. Leave them for longer then a year and you start seeing the teeth go back to what they were like before you did them. They really start getting sharp again after the 12-14 month period (Speaking from experience). You wouldn't know the horse was done a year ago. To get the book by Dale Jeffery called- Oral Health in Equidae go to www.horsedentistry.com and look under the book page. I think everyone who gets dental work done should see this book.
Stay safe everyone.
Hi all - this has been a great thread. It took me ages to find it again to-day - checked every topic! I had all my horses teeth done in February by a vet. The vet sedated them all, filed them a bit, told me they were all in good shape and wouldn't need to be checked again until after 12 months. However awhile ago Tricka started shaking her head a lot while I was riding which was new. I had a couple of busters recently and each time pulled the bit right through her mouth so I was worried that I may have broken a tooth so dentistry seemed important. This thread helped me with this decision so thanks to everyone who contributed. This time I got the "Horse Dentist" with a good reputation. Wow! what a great experience that was. I was worried that Tricka may play up without sedation but she was perfect. The dentist could not believe she had been done in February as her teeth were very sharp and I was causing her considerable pain while riding. The dentist even found one of her baby wolf teeth still in there which he pulled out and gave to me. I was so surprised to see how small it was - not much bigger than my 5 year old grandsons that are currently falling out. I still have it in my pocket! Now I have booked this dentist for all my other horses. He is so good and he has assured me that he should be able to do them all, except Pie, without sedation. A few things I have learnt from this:
1. be more attentive to my horse's head reactions when riding with a bit and be mindful of any change.
2. only get dentistry done by someone with a good reputation.
3. most horses tolerate dentistry quite well without sedation if you have a competent dentist.
Here are 2 videos that are very educational and informative. A picture is worth a thousand words.
Here are the links.
Check them out and understand things a whole lot better after watching them. Your horse is worth it.
The Guy on those videos would be a great person to get on the online university. Would get rid of a lot of confusion on dentistry.
Well here I go. I can see that there is considerable interest and differences of opinion regarding dentistry for horses. I am an Equine Dentist who learned from some of the best Master Dentists in the world. One of them being the 'Original Master'.. Mr. Dale Jeffery from Glenns Ferry Idaho. He has travelled the world teaching good dentistry to a host of us and we are so grateful to him for his contribution to the world of horses and the people who own them.
I studied with men and women from all over the world, some of them being veterinarians. I was very surprised to learn this, and asked them why they were there. They said they were studying Equine Dentistry. I said, I thought they were taught dentistry in their vet studies. The answer was, 'we get 2-6 hours of classroom study of horse teeth in 6 years of veterinary school. They all agreed ( world wide) that this was so. I was shocked. As a dentist in the field, you see some incredible sights, and there is no time to sit down and grab a book , flipping through the pages to chapter 7 page 503 to find the answer to the nightmare staring you in the face. You have to be decisive and get after it. Hands on experiences in the field with other capable dentists, helps prepare you for the 'ride' of your life. And, many dentists will agree that, the horses are some of our best teachers.
I believe that it is more humane to sedate the horse. Why should he be treated any different than humans are treated at the dentist? With sedation, the dentist can be more efficient and thorough, accomplishing as perfect a '3 point balance' as possible. That balance involves the TMJ, the molar arcades and the incisors. The molars and incisors erupt 1/8 " per year. If you take an eighth inch off the molar arcades, you have a gap. Now, if you don't address the incisors as well, the horse has to squeeze the molars together to masticate his feed, compomising his TMJ and pushing the incisors outward. There are no shortcuts in dentistry. You either did the right thing for the horse .. or you cheated him, and his owner, who trusted you. We, as horse owners, need to familiarize ourselves with as much knowledge as we can to make a more intelligent and informed decision about who works on our horses. The horses can't speak to tell us if they have a high spot in their mouths, which would drive humans crazy. We can speak .. they can't.
Someone mentioned pulling the tongue out of the mouth. That is allowed if done very carefully. If you let somone pull it too far out, you can break his 'hyoid apparatus.' That is a fragile little bone connected to other little bones by tough cartilage. It sits back and between the jaws, connected to the tongue. It runs the tonuge. If you break the hinges, the tongue will hang out for the rest of his life, and he'll have a balance problem.
There is a world of very interesting information on dentistry and I can't go into all of it. I will say that I am passionate about bringing comfort to the horses I serve. I feel it is important to educate the owners in kind ways about their horses. I invite them to reach into the 'oral cavity' and feel for themselves; what the horse is living with. The speculum, that keeps the mouth open while you work, should be closed often and the head lowered, to give him temporary relief. Then when I'm finished the work, they can feel again. The owners are always thankful for the experience. As owners they have a right to participate in bringing wellness to their horses.
If your dentist won't let you feel, I'd question that, because they should not be ashamed of their work, or have anything to hide. We are there to improve the horses level of comfort. If he's comfortable.. you the owner, are safer in riding and handling him.
I love these marvelous creatures that bring us so much challenge and joy. They are what makes me live and breathe. I can't imagine my life without them, and the wonderful experiences they provide for me. God bless the owners who love and care for them. We need more kindness, patience and love. Horses have taught me some of the most valuable lessons about life and living. I hope this information has helped in some small way to clear up some questions. I don't claim to have all the answers.
The original subject of this post was equine dental care on the UNI. Everyone has contributed greatly to the subject and after watching the videos that Stephen suggested there was a video by Monty on equine dentistry
The emphasis is on the importance of taking are of your horses mouth and explains to my why wild horses don't have the same issue with their teeth. It is not that they don't have problems arise but it is far fewer than the average horse in captivity.
Equine Dentistry Made Easy to Understand. Parts 1-10. More videos. Every horse owner should watch these videos and understand. They say picture is worth a thousand words what would a video be worth..................
Hi, I was at the farm and saw a demonstration of Equine dentistry on one of the remedial horses that was brought to the farm because he was so tough to handle for the new owner who got him from someone who didn't want him anymore. The gelding was sedated because nobody knew his history. I learned about wolf teeth, misalignment of the 4 front teeth, top and bottom. The problems caused by uneven growth with the back grinders. The scariest thing of all was putting your hand in his mouth all the way back to the molars. We felt his teeth before and after the treatment. Huge difference. The vet did use "power tools" and he was finished in less than 30 minutes. The next day in the round pen the body language on this gelding was completly different. Relaxed, attentive and willing. The vet said he had never had his teeth done and he was 12 yr old. One other thing, I am 59 yrs old and need nitrous oxide to have my teeth worked on!!!!
It is amazing when you feel inside the horses mouth before and after the job the change there is when it's done properly. I have seen kids horses with a mouthful of razors in their and yet they were still packing those kids around safe. That always amazes me how forgiving these horses are. It always scares me when I think back to when I started horses for 8 or so years without dental work (Will not ride a horse anymore without proper dental work). Your wondering what can cause horses to flip over, rear, buck, fight the bit, and resist in many ways. Then when dental work is done lots of times those issues leave. Not saying that there is never any training that needs to be done afterwords. If you take care of your horse they will take care of you.
This has turned into a Thread of Much Education. ...
Thanks to those that left comments to help educate others :O)
I have only just read this thread - very interesting and informative. I just had my gelding's teeth done. He is eight years old and very headshy, so I got him sedated and the vet used an electric rasp. We felt it was kinder that way so he didn't get so stressed and the vet also said that with a sedated horse he can usually do a better job. It was all very stress free and over in twenty minutes. He stood rooted to the spot for about half an hour afterwards looking slightly drunk, then shook his head and wandered off to eat. He seems to have suffered no ill effects whatsoever and I feel much better knowing he is good for another twelve months.