How To Prevent Your Horse From Getting Diarrhea…by Fixing His Teeth


♘ مدیریت انجمن اسب ایران ♞
By Sierra Lynch

It’s a messy problem, but if you own horses long enough, you’ll eventually have to deal with it: diarrhea. Your horse can get it for many reasons. But did you know a major cause of horse diarrhea is poor dental care? It’s true. Here’s why. And what you can do to help prevent this smelly problem…

Your horse’s digestive system was designed to take frequent meals in very small amounts. That’s why horses in the wild seldom get diarrhea. They graze on whatever forage they find on the open range. And they grind it up into fine particles, form it into a ball (called a ‘bolus’). Then they coat it with saliva before sending it to their stomachs for digestion.

But if your horse has bad teeth, he can’t grind his food finely enough. So when it finally arrives in his intestines, it can’t just slide on through. Instead, it irritates the walls of his intestines, causing a low grade inflammation. And inflammed intestines equals horse diarrhea.

That’s why you see so many older horses coming down with the runs. They’ve ground their teeth down so much over the years that they can’t digest their food like they used to.

So if you suspect this to be your horse’s problem, what should you do?

Call your equine veterinarian. In order to graduate from vet school, he/she has to pass examinations not only on horse medicine, but also horse dentistry. The most routine horse dental procedure your vet performs is called floating.

When you vet floats your horse’s teeth, he essentially does 2 things. First, he files off the sharp enamel points from the outer edges of the upper cheek teeth. Then he files off the inner edges of the lower cheek teeth.

The result is better contact between the upper and lower teeth when your horse chews his food. If he has better tooth contact, he’ll be able to grind his food into finer particles. The finer he grinds his food, the less chance he’ll have to irritate his intestines.

And that greatly decreases your chances of having a really smelly mess to clean up.

We’ll talk more about horse dental floating in future articles, so keep your feed reader pointed at Horse IQ. So have a good ride, and I’ll see you next time.

Yours For Better Horse Health,

Sierra Lynch​