Dental care of your horse is an important part of their all round healthcare and as such we provide a dentistry service from vets who have undertaken further specialist training from the British Equine Veterinary Association. All equine vets at Avondale are trained in advanced dentistry.
Ideally, the vet should check your horse’s teeth at least once a year; this is because horse’s teeth continually grow. Depending on the individual horse, the dental care required can vary from an annual manual rasp to specialised motorised work being required on a more frequent basis. Some common problems we see include overgrowths of individual teeth, (sometimes as a result of the opposing tooth which should wear it down being missing), ulceration of cheeks from sharp points on the teeth, and diastemata, where gaps between the teeth allow food to pack and rot, leading to gum inflammation.
Things to watch out for which may suggest your horse has a problem with their teeth include:
- Dropping half chewed food (quidding)
- Head shaking or abnormal head carriage when ridden
- Eating more slowly than usual
- Bad breath
- Weight loss
- One-sided nasal discharge
- Swelling on the face or lower jaw
- Sticking tongue out of the mouth
What to expect at a dental examination
All horses having their teeth examined will have the gag put on. This is not painful but allows us to open the horses mouth and see and feel to the furthest back teeth without the horse being able to bite accidentally. We will feel for any abnormalities like sharp points or overgrown teeth and where possible examine the mouth visually using a dental mirror. We will usually ask you if you have noticed anything different in the way your horse has been eating or how they have been with the bit.
Not only are all of our Equine Vet's fully trained in advanced dentistry, but we upgraded our equipment to ensure each Vet is kitted out with the latest in hand-held, wireless motorised equipment. We are aiming to replace the use of our traditional hand-held tools with this new unit wherever possible, as we believe we can offer a better service to you and your horse, while still maintaining proper safety standards.
This precision kit with inbuilt illumination will replace our manual hand-held tools and result in a faster, smoother dental experience for your horse. We have found that horse's who previously did not tolerate hand-tools well are often better with this system. Those who needed sedation for dental work also frequently require a smaller dose. The need for sedation is obviously dictated by your Vet on the day, but we have found this a positive outcome so far.
Diagnostics & Labratory
We have a large array of diagnostic equipment; portable x-ray machines for lameness, dentistry, and sinus investigations etc. combined with the Kodak digital x-ray system. Up to date ultrasound equipment for scanning tendons, ligaments, muscles, bladders, reproductive tracts, small intestines, liver, lungs etc. and endoscopes, for investigation of the trachea, larynx, nasal passages, bladder, uterus etc.
Our well equipped in house laboratory is also available 24 hours for haematology and biochemistry, cytology and microscopy examinations.
Avondale Veterinary Equine team are responsible for teaching final year Veterinary students from the University of Glasgow Vet School. Susan, Beka and Karen all train students on a day to day basis in first opinion equine practice.
A large percentage of cases at Avondale involve lameness. Treatment or part treatment of these cases often involves foot balance and/or remedial shoeing.
Horses under our care that are assessed at our equine facility will be shod by Mr. Sandy Beveridge FWCF (Fellow of The Worshipful Company of Farriers) who has over 30 years experience and been a Farriery examiner for 20 years. He has lectured and demonstrated farriery in UK, America, Canada and the United Arab Emirates. A discharge sheet detailing work done and future shoeing requirements will be given to each client for their own farrier. The client’s farrier is more than welcome to attend the surgery to contribute to the case on the farriery day. A combined approach and input from vet, Avondale farrier and client’s farrier will be the most productive for a successful outcome. Please note that Avondale Veterinary Group will invoice farriery work directly to the client under normal terms.
As part of our commitment to your healthy horse, you are invited to attend the equine surgery (by appointment) for a free weight check on our precise walk-on horse weigh. This is particularly useful to monitor weight and dose your horse correctly for wormers and supplements. Monitoring weight accurately is also helpful for the older horse and good doers. Make an appointment to come to the surgery for a free weight check.
Our state of the art walk on scales allows horses to be weighed accurately to monitor weight and provide accurate dosing of medication.
This weighing service is available to our clients' horses when they attend the surgery for any procedure.
Outside we have a large secure soft lunging area and quiet trot up areas for evaluating lameness.
At Avondale we are experienced in carrying out pre-purchase examinations (vettings). Please contact one of the equine team for details on this service or for advice on understanding potential insurance and resale problems.