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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 horse diarrhea 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 inflamed
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,

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