Equestrian Life
Study reveals why tooth decay is common in WA horses

 Horse teeth - Labelled for reuse

 

By Equestrian Life

 

A new study at The University of Western Australia (UWA) has explored reasons why horses in WA are suffering from tooth decay. Researches found that horses who were fed oaten hay were almost three times as likely to develop decay — known as equine peripheral caries.

 

Dr Kirsten Jackson is an equine dental veterinarian who is also studying a Masters of Philosophy by Research at UWA. She had found tooth decay to be very common in WA and wanted to know why horses in the state experienced this problem at such a high rate.

 

The study (K. Jackson et al. Equine Peripheral Dental Caries: An epidemiological survey assessing the prevalence and possible risk factors in Western Australian Horses, Equine Veterinary Journal (2017)) surveyed 500 local horses and aimed to find reasons why tooth decay is so common in this population. Researchers found that 60% of horses surveyed were afflicted by tooth decay, and one of the most significant risk factors was the type of hay fed to the horse. Feeding cereal hay — such as oaten — seemed to correlate with tooth decay. Horses fed on meadow/grass hay were less than half as likely to have peripheral caries. Dr Jackson believes the high water soluble carbohydrate (sugar) levels in the cereal hay could play a part in an increased incidence of decay.

 

 

Horse skull - Labelled for reuse

 

 

Water source was another factor: those on bore or groundwater least likely to have peripheral caries, followed by those on scheme or drinking water, then rain water. Horses on dam water were the most likely to have tooth decay. Another factor was access to pasture. Horses with access to significant pasture for eight to twelve months of the year were less likely to suffer from decay compared to those with restricted or no pasture access.

 

The horse’s breed also played a role, with thoroughbreds more prone to decay in comparison to western breeds (e.g. quarter horses) and warmbloods.

More information: K. Jackson et al. Equine Peripheral Dental Caries: An epidemiological survey assessing the prevalence and possible risk factors in Western Australian Horses, Equine Veterinary Journal (2017).

 

READ THE LATEST NEWS ARTICLES HERE 

 

 

 M_Ad_out_now_36

© copyright. Equestrian Life. Monday, 23 September 2019
http://www.equestrianlife.com.au/articles/Study-reveals-why-tooth-decay-is-common-in-WA-horses