- Cheek teeth may become unevenly worn, so they don’t grind feed efficiently and can cause ulcers on the tongue.
- The signs of this include dropping of feed from the mouth while chewing, bulging of the cheeks caused by wads of food becoming impacted between the teeth and cheek, and/or green staining around the mouth caused by drooling of saliva.
- Overgrown edges on cheek teeth are common in elderly ponies and horses.
- Treatment is by rasping the sharp edges and it takes a trained person like a veterinarian or a horse dentist to do this effectively.
- To prevent problems, it is wise to have the cheek teeth of ponies and horses rasped regularly, perhaps once a year or so, by a veterinarian or a horse dentist.
- Periodontal disease can affect cheek teeth. It is caused by infections of the gum and supporting structures around the cheek teeth roots.
- In severe cases the bone becomes swollen and sore, then the animal is reluctant to chew its cud and it gets thin.
- If you suspect any problems like this, veterinary care is needed to avoid behavioral and welfare problems.
Written by: Dr Clive Dalton