Every Horse Needs an Annual Dental Exam, Says the AAEP
American Association of Equine Practitioners
Because proper dental care is vital to a horse's overall health, the AAEP is launching a campaign to promote the need for horses to receive a thorough oral examination at least once a year. Designed to reach horse owners, the campaign will kick off in April and run through 2008.
It is important to catch dental problems early. Horses with dental problems may show obvious signs, such as pain or irritation, or they may show no noticeable signs at all. But left undiagnosed and untreated, a dental problem can develop into a much more significant health concern. In a 2006 study of horses suffering from chronic weight loss, 20 percent of the horses experienced weight loss due to dental disorders. In addition to weight loss, the inability to chew feed into small particles can lead to colic, and the bacteria associated with gum disease in the horse's mouth can migrate to other areas of the body, similar to what occurs with gum disease in humans.
"Routine dental maintenance is the easiest step an owner can take to prevent a more serious problem from developing," said AAEP President Eleanor M. Green, DVM, DACVIM, DABVP. "When you schedule vaccinations or a Coggins test for your horse, this is the perfect opportunity to schedule a dental examination with your horse's veterinarian as well."
During April, the AAEP's "Ask the Vet" feature on aaep.org will focus on equine dentistry. Drs. Lynn Caldwell and Elizabeth Schilling of the Equine Dentistry Committee will answer questions from horse owners about dental health. In addition, a variety of educational articles and resources about equine dentistry are available on the AAEP Web site. Visit www.aaep.org/horseowner to learn more.
A horse-health article, "Learn to Recognize Your Horse's Dental Problems," is available for reprint to the media. This article, along with "Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Jack Easley" and the campaign's logo, can be downloaded at www.aaep.org/dentistry_campaign.htm.
For more information about the AAEP's dental campaign, contact Sally Baker at (859) 233-0147 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The American Association of Equine Practitioners, headquartered in Lexington, Ky., was founded in 1954 as a non-profit organization dedicated to the health and welfare of the horse. Currently, the AAEP reaches more than 5 million horse owners through its nearly 9,000 members worldwide and is actively involved in ethics issues, practice management, research and continuing education in the equine veterinary profession and horse industry.
Tamzali, Y. (2006) Chronic weight loss syndrome in the horse: a 60-case retrospective study. Equine Veterinary Education/American Edition, December 2006, p. 372 - 380.