You know it’s important for your horse to have regular dental exams, but you may not realize that the condition of teeth impacts digestion. If he has sharp points, uneven teeth, or any other problems that interfere with chewing, this can lead to trouble. Saliva helps start the digestive process, but horses don’t produce saliva until they actually start chewing. That saliva must mix with the feed material so it’s not too dry when it enters the stomach. The fermentation part of digestion is meant to occur in the horse’s hind gut. If feed material is too dry, fermentation can occur in the stomach. This is highly undesirable, as gas produced in the stomach can lead to serious—even fatal—digestive complications. You’ll want to keep your horse’s teeth in the best condition to chew his feed. Keep in mind that some horses need dental work more frequently than others. Your equine dentist or veterinarian can set up a dental care schedule for your specific horse.
Life for senior horses — and their owners — has greatly improved from what it was in years past, thanks to advances in veterinary technology and equine nutrition.
Just like people, horses are individuals; they don’t all age at the same pace and in the same exact way. You’ll find some horses competing into their early twenties, while others are already retired in their teens. Certain horses maintain condition and muscle mass better than others.
But even though appearances differ among senior horses, they can all benefit from careful attention to their nutritional needs in their golden years... Read more...