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Equine Dentistry The importance of proper equine dental care


Equine Dentistry The ... Short, square brachydont teeth Diet of succulent forage Five toes From Ancient to Modern Horse Evolved/adapted to live on grasslands Began in ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Equine Dentistry The importance of proper equine dental care

Equine DentistryThe importance of proper equine
dental care
The Basics of Horse Anatomy
Oral Anatomy Equine Chewing Cycle Age-Related
From Ancient to Modern Horse
  • Horses were forest animals
  • 55 million years ago (Eohippus-the dawn horse)
  • Small (50 lbs)
  • Short, square brachydont teeth
  • Diet of succulent forage
  • Five toes

From Ancient to Modern Horse
  • Evolved/adapted to live on grasslands
  • Began in North America
  • 32 extinct genera
  • 150 species of fossil horses
  • 4.5 million years ago, now a single toe
  • Reintroduced to North America 16th century

Modern Horse
Skull of a draft horse
Oral Anatomy
  • Equine tooth made of
  • Cementum
  • Dentin
  • Enamel
  • Allows tooth to be self-sharpening
  • Each arcade has
  • 3 incisors, 3 premolars, 3 molars
  • May have one canine
  • May have one vestigial pre-molar (wolf tooth)

Oral Anatomy
  • Abrasive foodstuffs.
  • Long crowned teeth.
  • All cheek teeth molar-like.

Eruption Times of Equine Teeth
  • At birth, foals face cannot accommodate full
    complement of teeth.
  • 3 deciduous incisors erupt starting from the
    center at 7 days, 7 weeks and 7 months.
  • All 12 deciduous premolars present at birth or
    erupt soon after.
  • Molars do not have a deciduous precursor.
  • Molars erupt at 1, 2 and 3.5 years.

Eruption Times of Equine Teeth
  • Permanent incisors (center to corner) replace
    their deciduous precursors at
  • 2.5 years
  • 3.5 years
  • 4.5 years
  • Deciduous premolars are replaced at
  • 2.5 years
  • 2 years, 8 months
  • 3 years, 8 months

Eruption Times of Equine Teeth
  • In 2 years, 24 deciduous teeth are replaced by
    permanent counterparts.
  • Scrutiny of the horses mouth is important during
    this time.

Eruption Times of Equine Teeth
  • Canines (fighting teeth) usually erupt at 4 6
    years in males. Often absent or rudimentary in
  • Wolf teeth (vestigial 1st premolars) usually
    erupt at 6-12 months of age.
  • Neither of these teeth serve a purpose in

Why Horses Need Dental Care
Goals of Proper Equine Dental Care What about
the Wild Horse? Elements of the Dental Exam
Goals of Proper Equine Dental Care
  • Thorough oral exam necessary
  • Abnormality
  • Acquired disease
  • Optimize jaw and mouth function
  • Remove excessive chewing forces on individual
    teeth (malocclusions)
  • Preserve tooth structure (equilibrate eruption)
  • Prevent periodontal disease
  • Alleviate pain
  • Address any issues preventing horse from
    functioning at optimum level

Goals of Proper Equine Dental Care
  • Make dentistry a regular element of good health
  • Prevent early problems from becoming lifelong,
  • Find hidden, painful problems to alleviate
  • Allow horses to keep functional teeth for entire

Elements of the Dental Exam
  • Treat the whole horse
  • Have and know how to use proper equipment
  • Thorough knowledge of equine surgery, medicine
    and dentistry
  • Have access to additional diagnostics

Elements of the Dental Exam
  • Most important? Interest, desire, education,
    proper training.
  • The mouth is only a part of the whole horse.
  • General exam and evaluation of the whole horse.
  • Not unusual to find other significant health

4 of horses examined dont get dentistry that
day, says Bob Gregory, DVM
Elements of the Dental Exam
  • History
  • Physical exam
  • Sedation
  • Full mouth speculum
  • Bright light source
  • Correct equipment (mirror, cheek retractor,
    picks, etc.)
  • Access to additional diagnostics (lab, X-ray, MRI)

Popular Myths about Dental Care
  • Young horses dont need dental care.
  • Wild horses dont get dental care so my horses
    dont need it.
  • Horses only need dental care every few years.
  • I am able to tell when my horse needs dental

The Facts about Proper Dental Care
  • Birth to 2 yearsEvaluate to determine if
    everything developed correctly.
  • 2-5 years Evaluate to determine if all
    permanent teeth erupted as they should.
  • 5-20 years Regular checkups to make sure no
    disease or injury threatens the health of the
  • GeriatricsEvaluate to ensure the horse can eat
    properly, is not in pain, answer questions on
    feeding a geriatric horse.
  • All ages benefit from regular dental exams!

Who Should Provide Dental Care
A Team Approach Veterinary Education Myths and
Facts Licensed Veterinary Professionals
A Team Approach
  • A concerned owner-veterinarian team is best for
    the horse.
  • Care on a regular basis can assure health,
  • Dentistry is ONE element of good health care.
    Must be coupled with a complete physical exam.

Veterinary Education Licensure
  • To provide thorough, competent equine dental
  • Understand anatomy, physiology, pharmacology,
    pathology and clinical applications
  • Assess the whole horse, recognize health issues
  • Apply clinical skills, correctly use medical
    drugs and sedatives, have access to diagnostics
    (lab, X-ray, MRI)
  • Only licensed veterinarians have the necessary
    training and are allowed by law to diagnose,
    treat, prescribe

Myths and Facts
  • MythVeterinarians are not educated in
  • FactDental education encompasses all 4 years of
    Veterinary School and beyond.
  • MythVeterinarians are not interested in
  • Fact Committed veterinarians are part of a
    network of Equine Health Care Professionals.
    Some veterinarians prefer to refer dental care.
  • MythLay people who do teeth are more
  • Fact Floating only training cannot substitute
    for a comprehensive veterinary education.
    Veterinarians are trained, licensed to use
    sedation, take X-rays. Continuing education is
    required throughout their careers.

Equine Dentistry
  • Your horses health and well-being are best
    served by licensed veterinary professionals
  • Veterinarians (DVMs)
  • Veterinary Technicians (LVTs)
  • WA State Dept of Health establishes requirements
  • Traininginitial and ongoing
  • Licensing
  • AccountabilityExpect and demand competent
    treatment. Lay people without proper training,
    operating outside the law should not provide
    dental care.

Thank you
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