horse crush

Our Equine Vets are passionate about the prevention of periodontal disease in horses and the best way to do this is regular dental check ups. 


Periodontal disease (disease of the gum, bone and ligaments that support the teeth) is something that all horse owners need to be aware of. If diagnosed early and treated effectively, the outcome should be a healthy horse free from dental pain that will benefit as it ages from retaining its teeth.

Periodontal disease begins when bacterial growth around the teeth and gums caused by trapped food or plaque causes an inflammation of the gums called gingivitis. As the gum becomes inflamed it will swell and bleed, bacteria will enter the horse’s blood stream possibly affecting all areas of the body, not just its teeth.

This problem can only be spotted at its early treatable stages using sedation, head restraint, lights and mirrors. Our new mobile horse crush offers a great secure environment for the horse to do this in.

Our equine vets have post graduate qualifications in equine dentistry and we are members of Equine Dental Vets, a global group of equine vets.

The first step of any dental should be a thorough examination of the mouth.

  • Sharpness/overgrowth of the teeth cannot be adequately located without both feeling and seeing inside the mouth, nor can other dental problems be diagnosed.

Due to the continual growth or eruption of equine teeth, horses will naturally develop significantly sharp enamel points.

  • These can cause damage and ulceration to the tongue and cheeks if left untreated. Periodontal disease is a commonly overlooked aspect of dental health in the horse. However, treating this condition is also very important for your horses’ welfare.
  • For this reason we recommend an oral check every 12 months for most horses; younger horses and geriatrics normally require more frequent examination. During this routine check-up we are able to detect dental or oral pathology requiring treatment, for example fractured teeth, exposed pulp.

At Franklin Vets, we use a speculum to safely open the mouth before flushing out food matter with antiseptic solution. We then use a light to fully visualise all of the mouth, with the help of a dental mirror.  To help understanding of the procedure, we encourage owners to look in the mouth whilst we point out any problems/pathology.

Our system for dental examination includes safe sedation for thorough visualisation of the mouth. We use a full mouth speculum, internal floodlight and dental mirror to explore every nook and cranny in your horses’ mouth. In this way we can feel faults and see them. Clients are clearly able to visualise any treatments and corrections necessary and are involved in every step.

If treatment is necessary this system employs the use of a veterinary-only instrument designed specifically for the horses’ mouth. It is selective for hard tissue only, therefore cheeks and gums are protected during work. Excessive heat can be generated by the use of non-specialised power tools causing devastating dental disease.

Occasionally extractions are indicated and as vets we provide pain-free local anaesthesia for these procedures. This reduces anxiety during extraction and results in a happier horse, less prone to being head or bridle shy after the event.

A quality equine dental vet will easily meet the following criteria, so these are the questions you should ask any person treating your horses:

Does your dental care provider:

  1. Provide your horse with pain relief?
  2. Use a dental speculum (gag)?
  3. Clean the mouth before examining?
  4. Use a mirror and probe to perform a detailed examination of the mouth?
  5. Use a light to examine the mouth?
  6. Provide you a detailed written record of findings?
  7. Clean and disinfect instruments?

Is your equine dentistry provider:

  1. Insured?
  2. Licensed?
  3. Regulated?
  4. Able to perform procedures like X-rays?
  5. Able to treat infection?
  6. Up-to-date with the latest techniques and equipment?

Veterinarians can also administer alternative forms of pain relief to aid treatment.

As regulated professionals, we remain responsible for all treatments performed including follow-ups. We are also required to keep up with the latest techniques and equipment to ensure a high level of service.

Now is the ideal time of year to arrange a dental examination for your horse. Ensuring they are able to effectively utilise the grass available and minimise condition loss following winter.

If you have any concerns regarding your horse’s mouth including weight loss, dropping or packing feed, bridle resistance etc, please contact us.