Managing Deciduous Teeth in Young Horses

Caring for deciduous teeth in young horses requires additional considerations from a veterinary standpoint.
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Most horse owners are privy to caring for their adult horses’ teeth and diligent in obtaining proper dental care. But caring for foals’ and young horses’ deciduous (or simply put, baby) teeth is a little different, at least from a veterinary standpoint.

At the American Association of Equine Practitioners Focus on Dentistry meeting, held Sept. 18-20 in Albuquerque, N.M., Jack Easley, DVM, MS, Dipl. ABVP, a private practitioner from Equine Veterinary Practice LLC, in Shelbyville, Ky., discussed what to watch for when dealing with deciduous teeth, and what veterinarians look for when examining them.

"Knowledge of eruption times of deciduous and permanent dentition should be second nature to veterinarians working in the equine mouth," Easley said. "The shedding of deciduous teeth is an entirely natural process that generally does not require human intervention to proceed normally."

However, he noted, as with any other natural occurrence, sometimes things don’t go as planned. Some veterinary intervention could be required to put the young horse’s mouth on track for a healthy life

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Erica Larson, former news editor for The Horse, holds a degree in journalism with an external specialty in equine science from Michigan State University in East Lansing. A Massachusetts native, she grew up in the saddle and has dabbled in a variety of disciplines including foxhunting, saddle seat, and mounted games. Currently, Erica competes in eventing with her OTTB, Dorado.

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