My horse has wolf teeth. What should I do?

Wolf teeth are found in around 70% of horses, including both fillies and colts. Often, wolf teeth can remain inside your horse’s mouth without causing any issues. However, they may become painful if they come into contact with the bit – requiring professional extraction.

Wolf teeth normally erupt between five and 12 months of age, but they don’t continue to erupt like other cheek teeth. In fact, in some horses, wolf teeth don’t emerge through the gums at all. These are called blind or unerupted wolf teeth.

Regardless of whether the wolf tooth are erupted or not, their position in the mouth may influence your horse’s comfort. A wolf tooth that remains clear of the bit won’t result in pain. But, if their loca-tion does impact the bit or if you change bits, you may encounter pain avoidance behaviours.

These include:

• Head tossing
• Head tilting
• Rearing
• Pulling hard
• Tongue over the bit
• Reluctance to take a lead

Wolf Teeth Removal

Many equine dental veterinarians recommend the removal of wolf teeth for several reasons. Not only does their extraction prevent possible pain, but it creates more space in your horse’s mouth to examine, clean and contour both upper and lower cheek teeth throughout their life.

Removing wolf teeth is usually a simple procedure, and should only be performed by a qualified equine dental veterinarian who is licensed to use sedation and local anaesthetic for your horse’s comfort. The procedure may take anywhere from a few minutes to half an hour.

Prior to their removal, your horse should be vaccinated against Tetanus. Small puncture wounds, including teeth extractions, are the ideal environment for the Tetanus bacteria – clostridium tetani – to thrive. To learn more about Tetanus vaccination, click here.

Author

  • Dr Louise Cosgrove

    The founder of Exclusively Equine Veterinary Services, Louise is driven to support horses in their recovery from injury or illness. A graduate of the University of Queensland, with international equin...

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