Equine Dental Care:
For horses, ponies and donkeys a good functioning chewing mechanism is very important. In the past dental care was only provided when the horse shows obvious signs. Today we know that time is wasted, because horses don’t show they have issues when they do! Also the technical possibility’s in horse dental care have increased.
Lingehoeve Diergeneeskunde strives to prevent dental problems by presenting dental care at a young age. And to treat existing dental problems on the standing horse, so all horses can eat and be ridden without pain.
To achieve this the horse dentists (being veterinarians) of Lingehoeve Diergeneeskunde, Marco van Schie, Anne Hiensch and Maaike van Ree are trained and certified at the Academy of Equine Dentistry in Idaho, US. To make sure quality remains high standing and up-to-date they revisit yearly and attend several courses and workshops at home and abroad.
- Slow eating
- Less grooming
- Dropping feed
- Change in reaction to the bit
- Head posture abnormalities
- Persistent food in the cheek
- Sensitive when touching the head
- Tongue out of the mouth
- Refusing to bite apples\carrots
- Aberrant odor from the nose or mouth
- Nasal discharge
- Recurrent esophagus obstruction
- Sharp points
- Wolf teeth
- Wave mouth
- Fractured tooth
- Congenital abnormalities
What we can do for your horse:
We can treat the majority of existing dental problems on the standing horse. Dental examination and most treatments can be performed at home as well as at our clinic. For more advanced procedures as extractions or radiographs we prefer to make an appointment at our clinic. If you’re referred by your vet or dentist, we would prefer to make an appointment at our clinic. We have an exam room at our clinic, especially equipped to make your horses dental treatment as comfortable as possible. Your horse will stand in a stall and his head will be placed in a halter that can be adjusted in height.
To guarantee optimal dental treatment sedation is necessary. To be able to reach the back of the mouth and to be able to balance the mouth. Sharp edges on the sides of the upper cheek teeth and hooks on the back of the lower are common and horses get very uncomfortable when instruments are being used in the back of their mouths. They will protest by moving away. Treatment in the front of the mouth is better accepted, but this is only half work! Sedation will relax the muscles of mastication and make opening the mouth less traumatic. Therefore sedation is indispensable for balancing the mouth.
Sedation is performed by injecting a small amount of Detomidine in the jugular vein. Although your horse will be uncoordinated, he will not fall down. Detomidine is a safe drug, registered for horses and can also be used on older, very young and even sick horses safely.
Detomidine will have a muscle-relaxing effect but also a sedative effect on the brain. Your horse will not fully experience the treatment. It will work for about an hour, but because there’s an effect on the esophagus and intestine you cannot feed your horse for 3 hours after sedation.
Naturally the purpose of dental treatment is to prevent sharp points and hooks. But also it is very important to make the incisors and cheek teeth ware as equally as possible. So when the horse matures all teeth will remain functional.
To make this happen it is very important to balance the incisors and cheek teeth. This means that after dental treatment, the pressure is equally divided over all teeth. Uneven pressure is the cause of all sorts of dental problems such as wave-mouths, diastema’s and chip fracture’s. To balance correctly sedation is a must.
If your horse has a dental problem, for example a wave-mouth or diastema’s, we can reduce or even fix the problem by balancing the mouth. Naturally this depends on the severity of the problem and the age of your horse. Looking for and treating the primary problem cause is the base of our strategy!
The veterinarians at Lingehoeve Diergeneeskunde are specialized in making and interpreting radiographs of teeth and sinuses. In rare cases the radiographs will not give satisfactory information for a diagnosis. In these cases we can offer a Computed Tomography (CT or CATscan).
Cheek teeth extraction:
Lingehoeve Diergeneeskunde is a clinic with lots of experience in extracting teeth in the standing horse. In our specially equipped exam room the horse is sedated and the affected tooth is extracted using local anesthesia.
With special forceps and lots of patience, sometimes in multiple sessions, the tooth is dissociated from its connective tissue and extracted. In many cases the tooth can be removed trough the mouth.
In some cases, for example if the crown (the piece of the tooth that is visible in the mouth) is fractured, we cannot use this technique. In these cases we use a MIB (minimal invasive buccotomie). A small incision is made in the cheek and a tube is inserted. Through the tube we insert instruments to loosen and extract the tooth. Your horse will have two stitches on his cheek.
Sometimes it is necessary to extract one or more incisors. A regular cause for incisor problems is EOTRH (equine odontoclastic tooth resorption and hypercementosis). This commonly occurs in older horses, but horses of all ages (especially Icelandic horses) can be affected. In some cases all incisors need to be extracted. EOTRH is very painful. Most horses graze better without incisors, even if the extraction was very recent.
Are you unsure if your horse suffers from this disease? A radiograph can diagnose EOTRH and show the severity. Lingehoeve Diergeneeskunde can help you with diagnoses, advice and treatment