It is a question that many of us horse owners will often ask ourselves… Does my horse need the dentist?


The reality is horses get dental disease just like we do. Horses teeth grow all the time which is why it is important to maintain a regular dental routine as changes in the mouth can occur from one dental check to the next.

What are the signs your horse may need a check up?

Has he started to drop his hay or hard feed?

Are you noticing food stuck between his molars?

Is there a foul smell, coming from his mouth?

Discharge from one or both nostrils?

Does your horse resent having the bit put in or having the noseband tightened?

Has he become unsteady in rein contact when ridden?


He could be developing gum disease, with bleeding gums and rotting food around his teeth; or perhaps his teeth have started to fall out! He may have overgrown sharp edges along the outside of his upper molars. Wolf teeth can also be troublesome and a common problem in young horses; causing them to object to contact on the bit.

Any tooth problems can go on to result in poor responsiveness when ridden, to dropping food and even losing weight. Problems can even result in unbalancing the whole horse and causing back and hind leg problems!

Horses are designed to eat tough old grass and leaves and not soft lush grass. The Horses upper jaw is wider than the lower jaw and the teeth grow all the time, they have to rely on us to call in the professionals to look after them.

We would usually recommend a routine dental treatment at least once a year. However some may require treatment every six months.

As a routine we at Swanspool use battery powered equipment as we feel it is quicker, less stressful and less damaging to the teeth. Our vets can also administer sedation if required.

Never underestimate how important good teeth and a good dentist are to the overall health of your horse or pony…Their health is in your hands.

Veterinary advice in this magazine is provided as a general guide and you should always seek professional advice.