Monitoring the Aging Horse’s Dental Condition

You can spot an aging horse by teeth checks. As a horse ages, the grinding motion of chewing wears the teeth down, and the teeth then erupt to replace what has worn away. At some point in a horse's life, there is not enough tooth left to replace the wear, and the horse can no longer chew properly. Further, as the teeth wear they can develop sharp edges or points that can lacerate the cheeks and tongue. Finally, inadequate chewing can cause lack of salivation, which may result in poor lubrication for swallowing, thus increasing the possibility of choking.

Regular dental care is essential to maintain the horse's teeth well enough to chew properly. Senior horses often have difficulty chewing hay and even possibly grass due to poor dental condition. Even with excellent dental care, the time may come for an older horse to get its roughage from a source other than long­-stemmed forage because it simply cannot chew adequately.

One option is Purina® Equine Senior® horse feed. Purina® Equine Senior® horse feed is a complete feed, which means it contains all the essential roughage so that even a horse unable to chew hay will receive adequate fiber. At some point, Equine Senior® feed may replace all of the hay in the horse's diet. As the horse ages further, it may be beneficial to add water to Equine Senior® feed to produce a mash or gruel, which will be even more easily edible for the horse with extremely poor dental condition.

If the older horse is still well able to keep long-­stemmed hay in its diet, Purina® Equine Senior® Active Healthy Edge® horse feed can provide the necessary nutrient profile along with appropriate good-quality hay or pasture.

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