This month we’re shining a light on our Director of Fundraising & Communications, Jess. Jess…
Did you know that horses’ teeth steadily erupt to counteract the wear they receive from grinding together during the 12-14 hours a day they spend eating?
Once they have lost their milk teeth, a horse’s adult teeth have very long ‘roots’ which sit below the gum line and continually move through the gum line throughout the horses life. Horses teeth sometimes wear unevenly, which can leave sharp edges that make it uncomfortable and difficult for the horse to eat. At advanced age, they will start to lose some teeth, either through accidents, infection, or the tooth will simply run out and this leaves a gap in the horse’s mouth. The neighbouring teeth will drift closer together but often a small gap called a diastema remains. This can cause problems as food becomes stuck in the gaps left behind and can cause inflammation, and pain.
Dental care is crucial for older horses. At The Horse Trust, we check our horses teeth every 6 months, or even more frequently for our very aged horses who have ongoing dental problems. These horses will also receive supplementary feeds which are easier for them to chew and in the colder months they will wear a rug to keep them warm and therefore they use less energy on heating and reserve more of the calories from their food.
We are very aware that our residents at the Home of Rest are more susceptible to dental disease because of their age. As an organisation we are currently funding research into: Interdental disease, caries and periodontal disease, and tooth extraction so that we can continue to improve the treatment available to not only our own horses but worldwide.
Our vet Nicky wrote a wonderful article for Horse & Hound in 2021 all about dental care for older horses where she talks about how she manages our herds teeth as they go into their twilight years. Read it here.
The Horse Trust relies on public donations to continue to give a forever home to retired military, police, Royal Mews and RDA horses. To be a part of their story, head to the link below.