Does Your Horse Have Toothache?

Results from a recent survey* on equine dental disease suggest that many horses do indeed have toothache or dental issues , and many of their owners are only aware of it if they use an equine dentist or a vet to check their horse’s teeth.

The horse has up to 44 teeth, set in a powerful jaw. As herbivores, horses munch their way through on average 2.5% of their bodyweight in forage and feed every day to maintain their weight – that’s 12.5kg (dry matter) of food chomping for a 500kg horse. This is why it’s so important to keep your horse’s teeth in good working order

Just like humans, horses can have many problems with their teeth such as loose or broken teeth, excessively worn teeth, infections and gum disease. It’s crucial to identify problems early, preferably before symptoms occur, to minimise discomfort and maximise chances of successful treatment. The 2017 survey showed that 92% of horses received regular dental checks with approximately two thirds receiving annual checks and one third receiving checks every six months.

Dr Wendy Talbot, equine vet at Zoetis commented: “It is tricky to know if a horse has dental problems because you can’t see inside the mouth and often there won’t be any obvious symptoms. This is why regular check-ups are so important. It’s reassuring to see that a high percentage of horses are receiving regular dental checks. Ideally your horse’s teeth should be examined by your vet or qualified equine dental technician every 6- 12 months.”


*The National Equine Health Survey is an annual snapshot survey, conducted by Blue Cross in conjunction with the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA). 5,235 people took part in the 2017 survey and returned records for 15,433 horses. A total of 841 of these horses were recorded as having problems with their teeth, with 54% treated by a veterinarian and 46% receiving attention from an equine dental technician.

About Zoetis
Zoetis is a leading animal health company, dedicated to supporting its customers and their businesses. Building on more than 60 years of experience in animal health, Zoetis discovers, develops, manufactures and markets veterinary vaccines and medicines, complemented by diagnostic products, genetic tests, biodevices and a range of services. Zoetis serves veterinarians, livestock producers and people who raise and care for farm and companion animals with sales of its products in more than 100 countries. In 2016, the company generated annual revenue of $4.9 billion with approximately 9,000 employees. For more information, visit

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