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Info for Pet Owners

Most pet owners are not aware that their pet has an oral problem, so an examination of the oral cavity overview should form part of every physical examination by your veterinarian. Oral examination in a conscious animal can only give limited information and a definitive oral examination can only be performed under general anesthesia.

Pain originating from dental problems often goes unrecognized by owners or professionals. Seldom will an animal stop eating due to a dental problem. The exception to this is in the case of severe soft tissue injury, for example chronic gingivostomatitis. In general, dental pain is a chronic pain, and it is only after treatment that an owner reports how much better their pet is doing. Pain is often mistaken for a pet just getting old. Very few pet owners examine their pets’ teeth unless they are carrying out daily home care, so actual dental problems often go unnoticed.

It is important to recognize symptoms that may have a link to dental diseases such as a nasal discharge or external facial swellings. In some cases, dental patients may even present with what appear to be neurological symptoms.

The main signs of oral disease include:

  • Halitosis (bad breath)
  • Broken or discolored teeth
  • Changes in eating behavior
  • Rubbing or pawing at the face
  • Ptyalism- excess salivation
  • Bleeding from the mouth or blood in saliva
  • Inability or unwillingness to open or close the mouth
  • Change in temperament
  • Weight loss

Equine dentistry is the practice of dentistry in horses, involving the study, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diseases, disorders and conditions of the oral cavity, maxillofacial area and the adjacent and associated structures.

The practice of equine dentistry varies widely by jurisdiction, with procedures being performed by veterinary physicians (both in general and specialist practice), specialist professionals termed equine dental technicians or equine dentists and by non-professionals, such as horse owners, with varying levels of training.

In some jurisdictions, the practice of equine dentistry, or specific elements of equine dentistry, may be restricted only to specialists with specified qualifications or experience, whereas in others, it is not controlled.