Recognize Your Horse’s Dental Problems

Here are 7 signs that your horse might be in need of some dental attention.


Catching dental problems early can help keep your horse healthy. Horses over 5 years old should receive annual checkups; younger horses should be examined twice a year.

The following disorders can signal dental trouble and need immediate veterinary attention:

  1. Dropping food while eating, difficulty chewing or excessive salivation.
  2. Loss of body condition.
  3. Large or undigested feed particles (long stems or whole grain) in manure.
  4. Head tilting or tossing, bit chewing, tongue lolling, fighting the bit or resisting bridling.
  5. Poor performance, such as lugging on the bridle, failure to turn or stop, even bucking.
  6. Foul odor from mouth or nostrils, or traces of blood from the mouth.
  7. Nasal discharge or swelling of the face, jaw or mouth tissues.

Source: “Learn to Recognize Your Horse’s Dental Problems,” American Association of Equine Practitioners

Further Reading
The Basics of Equine Dentistry
Dental Issues of the Senior Horse


  1. I think it was very helpful. I need help on another problem, too. My horse is loosing weight because she has lost so many teeth. Please HELP!! I dont want to loose her because of a rapid weight loss.

  2. Great idea to have info to alert us of dental problems before going too far along. I really would love to seem more preventative suggestions on other health issues.


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