equine dentistry the importance of proper equine dental care

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  • Equine DentistryThe importance of proper equine dental care

  • The Basics of Horse Anatomy

    Oral AnatomyEquine Chewing CycleAge-Related Facts

  • From Ancient to Modern HorseHorses were forest animals

    55 million years ago (Eohippus-the dawn horse)Small (50 lbs)Short, square brachydont teethDiet of succulent forageFive toes

  • From Ancient to Modern HorseEvolved/adapted to live on grasslands

    Began in North America32 extinct genera150 species of fossil horses

    4.5 million years ago, now a single toeReintroduced to North America 16th century

  • Modern HorseSkull of a draft horse

  • Oral Anatomy

    Equine tooth made ofCementumDentinEnamelAllows tooth to be self-sharpeningEach arcade has3 incisors, 3 premolars, 3 molarsMay have one canineMay have one vestigial pre-molar (wolf tooth)

  • Oral Anatomy

    Abrasive foodstuffs.

    Long crowned teeth.

    All cheek teeth molar-like.

  • Eruption Times of Equine TeethAt 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 TeethPermanent incisors (center to corner) replace their deciduous precursors at:

    2.5 years3.5 years 4.5 years

    Deciduous premolars are replaced at:

    2.5 years2 years, 8 months3 years, 8 months

  • Eruption Times of Equine TeethIn 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 mares.Wolf teeth (vestigial 1st premolars) usually erupt at 6-12 months of age.Neither of these teeth serve a purpose in chewing.

  • 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 CareThorough oral exam necessaryAbnormalityAcquired disease Optimize jaw and mouth function Remove excessive chewing forces on individual teeth (malocclusions)Preserve tooth structure (equilibrate eruption)Prevent periodontal diseaseAlleviate painAddress any issues preventing horse from functioning at optimum level

  • Goals of Proper Equine Dental Care

    Make dentistry a regular element of good health care

    Prevent early problems from becoming lifelong, expensiveFind hidden, painful problems to alleviate sufferingAllow horses to keep functional teeth for entire lives

  • Elements of the Dental ExamTreat the whole horseHave and know how to use proper equipmentThorough knowledge of equine surgery, medicine and dentistryHave 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 issues.4% of horses examined dont get dentistry that day, says Bob Gregory, DVM

  • Elements of the Dental Exam

    HistoryPhysical examSedationFull mouth speculumBright light sourceCorrect equipment (mirror, cheek retractor, picks, etc.)Access to additional diagnostics (lab, X-ray, MRI)

  • Popular Myths about Dental CareYoung 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 care.

  • The Facts about Proper Dental Care

    Birth to 2 years Evaluate 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 horse.Geriatrics Evaluate 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, longevity.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 care

    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 dentistry.FactDental education encompasses all 4 years of Veterinary School and beyond.

    MythVeterinarians are not interested in dentistry.FactCommitted 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 qualified.FactFloating 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 professionalsVeterinarians (DVMs)Veterinary Technicians (LVTs)

    WA State Dept of Health establishes requirements forTraininginitial and ongoingLicensing Accountability Expect and demand competent treatment. Lay people without proper training, operating outside the law should not provide dental care.

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