Top 5 Signs of an Equine Dental Problem with Dr. Dustin McElwee

Dr. Dustin McElwee

Dr. McElwee recommends horse owners get a routine exam with either a vet or a qualified lay dentist at least yearly, or twice yearly if there is a history of problems.

How do you know your horse may have a problem with its teeth? Watch out for these five signs:

  1. Holding their head in a funny posture while chewing – Just like people, horses with tooth pain will adjust their head and chewing movements to compensate.
  2. Dropping feed – Additionally, as they adjust for the sore tooth, they may start dropping an abnormal amount of feed out of their mouths as they chew.
  3. Resisting the bit, or poor behavior when the owner picks up the bit – Holding a bit in a mouth with tooth issues or an infection can be very painful and lead to strong resistance to the bit.
  4. Blood coming from the mouth – This is an important sign that your horse’s mouth and teeth need to be examined by a veterinarian or lay dentist.
  5. Nasal discharge from one side, but not the other – Horses’ sinuses are right next to their teeth. If a tooth is infected, or there is a hole, it’s an easy passage for infection to travel into the sinus.

When it comes to recovering from dental work at the vet, Dr. McElwee recommends Alfa-Pro. “If a horse has diastema problems or missing teeth, Alfa-Pro can help them maintain their weight. Also, post extraction we recommend it because the pelleted nature of the feed breaks down in such a way it doesn’t stick in the socket, so the socket heals more easily without debris getting packed into the holes.”

Hi-Pro Feeds thanks Dr. McElwee for sharing his expertise. For more information on Alfa-Pro, click here.

For more information on Dr. Dustin McElwee, click here.