Frequent questions

Horses require a dental check-up at least every 12 months, mostly because  problems in  horse’s mouths are often not obvious and owners are unaware of them and in the meantime problems are getting worse.

It is important to start checking horses’ teeth within a few months of life to detect conformational abnormalities so we can  mitigate or resolved them with dental action in a timely manner.

Experience shows us that all horses are different and their dental condition differ according to age, genetics and diet. Also their condition and needs depend on their physical activity, reproduction status and expectations of the owner.

After the first visit we recommend a dental maintenance plan according to needs.

Initially a thorough examination of the horse’s head and mouth is done in order to assess dental symmetry, balance and to reveal any dental disease or abnormal wear. The “balance” of the teeth is achieved by reducing or eliminating any malocclusion with the use of dental instruments, most often electric.

Dental procedures aim to:

  • Relieving pain
  • Increase the life of teeth
  • Improve performance
  • Improve balance and general condition
  • Improve mastication, lifespan and quality of life

The most common procedures performed in the mouths of horses are:

  • Complete oral examination and appendages
  • Individualized assessment adapted to the rider and horse
  • Tooth scraping of enamel tips
  • Growth reduction and dental balance
  • Improvement of the “bit seat” fillet seat (where the fillet works)
  • Extraction of bad teeth and wolf teeth
  • Conditioning of incisors and canines
  • Infiltration of the temporomandibular joint
  • Orthodontics, caries and others

Dental care is paramount for the balance of horses. Dental conditions are often the cause of physical or behavioral problems, hence the need for regular check-ups by a professional equine dentist.

A dental consultation lasts an average of 45-60 minutes for first timers and 30-45 minutes for regularly monitored horses.

The consultation can be performed without sedation. On the other hand, if the horse is scared, aggressive, in pain, or significant work needs to be done, the veterinarian should sedate the horse.

Josep Subirana’s consultations take place in three stages:

  1. External examination of the head
  • Muscular temple, symmetry, salivary gland, fistula, temporomandibular joint (TMJ), nasal secretions, respiration, deformities.
  • Inspection of possible lesions in the corners of the lips, bars and inspection of the wolf’s teeth
  • Analysis of the incisors
  • Dental occlusion check

The aim here is to analyze the external asymmetries of the masticatory muscles due to poor dental balance. It also helps your horse trust the vet and analyze their behavior.

  1. Internal examination of the horse’s mouth
  • Cleaning and disinfection of the mouth
  • Application of the mouth opener
  • Manual inspection to assess the importance of the pathologies
  • Checking with light and a mirror or endoscope on the surface of the teeth
  • Verification of jaw occlusion and function
  • Explanations to the owner of the treatment to be performed
  • Carrying out the treatment ***
  • Rinse your mouth with a disinfectant
  • Verification of jaw occlusion and function
  1. Explanation and writing of the report
  • Information to the client after the end of the treatment
  • Report writing and sending to the client
  • Track the horse remotely
  • Creating a work plan / revisions to keep track of the horse’s well-being

This step is critical for effective, regular, and follow-up care.

Regardless of whether there are any signs, if your horse has never been visited or has not been visited in the last year, it will most likely need to be checked. However the symptoms bellow can be attributed to dental problems:

  • Your horse is starting to change eating habits.
  • The horse is quidding
  • Unpleasant breath
  • Swollen face
  • Makes a ball with the hay and drops it on the ground
  • Poor body condition (thin)
  • Poor sports performance
  • Change in performance and behavior
  • Excessive salivation
  • Bitting doors or fences
  • Riding problems
  • Headbutt
  • Body stiffness
  • Head leaning while eating or riding
  • Respiratory problems
  • Problems with equipment, bits, sadddles…
  • Abnormal lingual movements
  • General bad attitude
  • Ocular or nasal discharge
  • Mandibular or maxillary fistulous secretion
  • Some horses can tolerate dental work without sedation, however, without sedation horses can be a danger to themselves and to people.
  • Sedation is not dangerous and allows a safe check and allows the use of mechanical devices facilitating a proficient dental intervention.
  • Experience tells us that performing a dental intervention under sedation is much better for the well-being of the horse and for the safety of everyone, while ensuring that the examination and intervention results are completely satisfactory.