Case Studies


20 year old quarter horse



Needle sharp enamel points were discovered, causing severe damage to the soft tissue.


and after floating..

tartar on

Tartar on the canine

tartar off

after removal

grind returned

Finished. Tahoe’s jaw now moves freely. No power tools or sedation were used.


Upper 6 rostral hooks were found on this 12 year old gelding

before closer

as well as sharp enamel points.


Hooks such as these do not just affect eating, they also affect the bit and riding. When asked to collect and work in an outline, these hooks lock against the lower teeth, preventing any rostral/caudal (front/back) slide, thereby making it impossible for the horse to relax their lower jaw (unless they open their mouth!).


Elvis after floating.


Senior gelding, 30+ years of age


This dear old boy had many issues inside his mouth, affecting his chewing and subsequently, his weight and condition. It is very important to keep horses mouths comfortable and pain free for mastication. These pictures from inside Whiskeys’ mouth are shocking.


Whiskeys’ upper first cheek teeth (06’s) have completely overpowered the teeth below, wearing them away to the roots. The teeth behind the upper 6’s have also been worn down to the root by the lower teeth on both sides of the mouth (known as a wave). The front right tooth in these pictures show periodontal pockets (spaces around teeth caused by erosion of the gums and soft tissues), packed with food between the tooth and the roof of the mouth.


A huge ulcer is visible in the cheek.

P1250best lingual point 404

This picture shows the lower first cheek tooth is completely worn away down to the smooth root by the tooth above. The 2nd tooth shows a sharp lingual enamel point which has caused damage to the tongue. Further back the black teeth indicate caries disease, which is basically demineralisation and destruction of the calcified tooth tissues.


Here we can see the damage caused by the overpowering lower teeth. Instead of a row of 6 teeth, behind his dominant front cheek tooth, Whiskey has only part of an upper tooth remaining, which has 2 sharp shards lying against his cheek- completely useless for chewing fibre.

It takes a lifetime of dental neglect to wear teeth in this manner. Had Whiskeys’ teeth been floated and balanced just once a year throughout his life he would have 6 teeth each side of his cheek, top and bottom, which would all make contact with their opposing tooth.  At his age now (30+), all I can do is make him comfortable and try to improve his ‘grind’.

Not all teeth have the same density and so do not always wear at the same rate. At a younger age these waves could have been managed and improved gradually over time.

Hence why it is so important to have your horses’ teeth checked annually, even if they appear to be well.


 11 year old quarter horse. Looks to be in good health and condition.


An initial oral inspection showed the right side of Casey’s mouth to be packed with food.


And after rinsing…


A row of ulcers and sores are revealed right along her cheek (brown circles/dents).

Packing food in sides of mouth

It is sometimes easy to tell, without the use of a gag, if a horse is packing food (hamster cheeks, dropping food, bad breath) but it is not always obvious. Food packs on one side of the mouth when he/she is unable to chew on that side.

When Casey had the food flushed out of her mouth it revealed needle sharp enamel points along the entire row of cheek teeth, causing what must be the most horrendous and constant pain to her.

Just because a horse looks well, it does not necessarily mean that it is comfortable and pain-free in its mouth. As these pictures show, a perfectly well looking horse can have horrific sores and ulcers, caused by sharp enamel points.  So how would you know? Well the only way to know, and to prevent this abrasion of the soft tissue in the cheeks is to have the horses teeth checked at least once a year by a knowledgeable horse dentist or vet.

I must add that Casey did not arrive at the HHH rescue centre carrying this amount of weight – that is entirely down to Shari’s devotion and dedication, plus a huge amount of $25/per bag special feed. Which proves just how incredibly tough and resilient horses can be, despite pain which I could certainly not endure.





Romia had a huge ball of tartar covering his canine.


After removal


The surrounding gum is red and inflamed underneath the tartar, this is the beginning of gum disease. Removing tartar at each dental check up will prevent this occurring.


Romia had really sharp points throughout his mouth and these sharp hooks on his first cheek teeth.


Sometimes they just seem to understand..


Well I am related to Secretariat you know!!