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Equine Dentistry The importance of proper equine dental care

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Presentation on theme: "Equine Dentistry The importance of proper equine dental care"— Presentation transcript:

1 Equine Dentistry The importance of proper equine dental care

2 The Basics of Horse Anatomy
Oral Anatomy Equine Chewing Cycle Age-Related Facts

3 From Ancient to Modern Horse
Horses were forest animals 55 million years ago (Eohippus-the dawn horse) Small (50 lbs) Short, square brachydont teeth Diet of succulent forage Five toes

4 From Ancient to Modern Horse
Evolved/adapted to live on grasslands Began in North America 32 extinct genera 150 species of fossil horses 4.5 million years ago, now a single toe Reintroduced to North America 16th century

5 Modern Horse Skull of a draft horse

6 Oral Anatomy Equine tooth made of— Cementum Dentin Enamel
Allows tooth to be self-sharpening Each arcade has— 3 incisors, 3 premolars, 3 molars May have one canine May have one vestigial pre-molar (wolf tooth)

7 Oral Anatomy Abrasive foodstuffs. Long crowned teeth. All cheek teeth molar-like.

8 Eruption Times of Equine Teeth
At birth, foal’s 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.

9 Eruption Times of Equine Teeth
Permanent incisors (center to corner) replace their deciduous precursors at: 2.5 years 3.5 years 4.5 years Deciduous premolars are replaced at: 2 years, 8 months 3 years, 8 months

10 Eruption Times of Equine Teeth
In 2 years, 24 deciduous teeth are replaced by permanent counterparts. Scrutiny of the horse’s mouth is important during this time.

11 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 months of age. Neither of these teeth serve a purpose in chewing.

12 Why Horses Need Dental Care
Goals of Proper Equine Dental Care What about the Wild Horse? Elements of the Dental Exam

13 Goals of Proper Equine Dental Care
Thorough oral exam necessary Abnormality Acquired disease Optimize jaw and mouth function Remove excessive chewing forces on individual teeth (malocclusions) Preserve tooth structure (equilibrate eruption) Prevent periodontal disease Alleviate pain Address any issues preventing horse from functioning at optimum level

14 Goals of Proper Equine Dental Care
Make dentistry a regular element of good health care— Prevent early problems from becoming lifelong, expensive Find hidden, painful problems to alleviate suffering Allow horses to keep functional teeth for entire lives

15 Elements of the Dental Exam
Treat the whole horse Have and know how to use proper equipment Thorough knowledge of equine surgery, medicine and dentistry Have access to additional diagnostics

16 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 don’t get dentistry that day,” says Bob Gregory, DVM

17 Elements of the Dental Exam
History Physical exam Sedation Full mouth speculum Bright light source Correct equipment (mirror, cheek retractor, picks, etc.) Access to additional diagnostics (lab, X- ray, MRI)

18 Popular Myths about Dental Care
“Young horses don’t need dental care.” “Wild horses don’t get dental care so my horses don’t need it.” “Horses only need dental care every few years.” “I am able to tell when my horse needs dental care.”

19 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!

20 Who Should Provide Dental Care
A Team Approach Veterinary Education Myths and Facts Licensed Veterinary Professionals

21 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.

22 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

23 Myths and Facts Myth—”Veterinarians are not educated in dentistry.”
Fact—Dental education encompasses all 4 years of Veterinary School and beyond. Myth—”Veterinarians are not interested in dentistry.” Fact— Committed veterinarians are part of a network of Equine Health Care Professionals. Some veterinarians prefer to refer dental care. Myth—”Lay people who do teeth are more qualified.” Fact— “Floating 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.

24 Equine Dentistry Your horse’s health and well-being are best served by licensed veterinary professionals— Veterinarians (DVMs) Veterinary Technicians (LVTs) WA State Dept of Health establishes requirements for Training—initial and ongoing Licensing Accountability Expect and demand competent treatment. Lay people without proper training, operating outside the law should not provide dental care.

25 Thank you [Presenter’s name, clinic]
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