Riverina Equine Vet



Age Related Dental Issues


There are many signs that your horse may have a dental issue - changes in behaviour, changes in eating and drinking habits, weight loss, becoming head shy, abnormal head carriage, foul smell from mouth and nose just to name a few. However, sometimes there are no obvious signs of a problem and as such it is imperative to have your horse’s teeth thoroughly and routinely examined beginning early in life.


Birth - 1.5 years - Your horse should be checked every 12 months for: 

  • Any issues/defects the horse may have been born with
  • Proper development of teeth
  • Incisor alignment
  • Sharp points on teeth
  • Improper position and number of teeth
  • Abnormal wear of teeth


1.5 - 4 years – Your horse should be checked every 12 months for:

  • Cysts in the gums over permanent teeth
  • Gingivitis
  • Periodontal disease
  • Loose or infected caps
  • Sharp points on the premolar, molar and wolf teeth
  • Uneven growth of permanent incisors
  • Presence and removal of wolf teeth if the horse is to be ridden in the future


4 - 10 years – Your horse’s teeth should be checked every 12 months for:

  • Contact and balance of bite surface
  • Removal of sharp points on cheek teeth
  • Balance of the jaw
  • Balance of the incisors


10 - 18 years – Your horse should be checked every 12 months for:

  • Abnormalities of wear
  • Wave mouth
  • Sharp points and hooks
  • Balance of tooth alignment
  • Length of canine teeth


18 and older – Your horse should be checked every 6 months (sometime every 3 months)

  • Periodontal disease – 70% increase
  • Tartar accumulation
  • Gingivitis
  • Tooth loosening
  • Loss of grinding surface
  • Need for geriatric diet
  • Sharp hooks and points
  • Balance between upper and lower jaw


MANY of these problems often go unidentified, overlooked, or mismanaged by lay dentists, which is why it is so important to have your horse’s dental health assessed and managed by a qualified Equine Dental Veterinarian.