- Foals: at birth!
This allows any problems that may be congenital to be dealt with and to be recorded. It's also the easiest time to imprint the foal for acceptance of future dental maintenance
- Horses up to the age of 5: every 6 months!
These regular checks allow monitoring of the shedding process of the milk teeth, checking for retained caps and slivers as well as sharp edges on molar tables.
- Mature Horses (approx. 6-18 years old):
In this age group one-year intervals on a balanced mouth and 6 month intervals on an abnormal mouth are usually sufficient. However, some horses may need dental care more often.
- Geriatric Horses: varies from one individual to the other
Older horses may require frequent dental care, depending on the condition of their teeth.
Symptoms and clues to dental problems
- General: Weight loss and poor coat condition
- Eating habits: dropping excessive hard feed, tilting head while eating, packing forage between molars and cheeks, eating hay before hard feed, bolting of feed, quidding, irregular jaw movement while eating, excessive salivation and drooling, change in drinking habits
- External head inspection: bad breath, bumps on jaw, discharge in eye, ear or nose, bleeding from mouth, cheeks sensitive, long particles in feces, swelling in throat area
- Performance and behaviour: bad general attitude, tilting head while riding, tossing head while riding, tongue hanging out while riding, refusing to accept the bit, refusing to change leads, refusing to collect, rearing, change in performance from normal
- Health and fertility: cribbing, colic, choking, mares unable to reach estrous cycle, stallions unwilling to breed