Older horses Part 3: The teeth of old horses
Older horses have ailments, unfortunately this also applies to the teeth. Old horses with bad teeth that make clogs or stink out of their mouth are no exception. The teeth of horses grow throughout their lives. Because horses are now getting older than in nature, it is possible that a horse will live for years while the teeth have already grown, which causes the necessary complications. The part of the tooth in the gums is then very, very short, sometimes so short that the entire tooth falls out of the mouth.
Dental problems with older horses
A tooth can sometimes also become loose, which becomes very annoying for the horse. If the horse has lost one or more teeth, the other teeth can stand apart. Food can accumulate in the empty space, which can cause a bad smell and increase the risk of inflammation of the gums. In addition, the rough surface of the molars can be used to such an extent that it becomes smooth and therefore no longer functions to grind roughage. Feed that is not chewed well enough can be less easily digested hence the horse can’t optimally use the nutrients from the provided ration. The older horses will then have to receive an adjusted ration to get all the necessary nutrients. This is especially true in the winter as tender grass is easier to chew for an old horse than hay or pre-dry pit. An old horse also makes fewer chewing movements due to wear or due to the loss of muscle strength in the jaw. As a result, the horse produces less saliva so that the food passes through the gastrointestinal tract less well. It is extra important for old horses to be regularly checked by a certified horse dentist. Old horses are often advised to have them checked twice a year instead of annually.
My old pony is thinner
Senior muesli's, food and mash often contain energy in the form of sugars and starch. This is not in line with the needs of old horses, this is explained in “Older horses part 4 Bringing old horses to their weight and keeping them there”. Hartog 5 * Complete Care Senior, (soaked) Grass Pellets (Grasbrokken) and/or Lucerne Pellets (Luzernebrokken) are healthier and are a more fiber-rich option.
Feed for old thin horses
The Hartog 5 * Complete Care Senior is a complete and finely chopped roughage with a balancer. The balancer consists of vitamins, minerals, organically bound trace elements and amino acids. It is chopped even finer than the Hartog Gras-mix so that even horses with serious dental problems can still reap the benefits of roughage. The Hartog 5 * Complete Care Senior offers the older horse a lot of energy from fatty acids such as linseed and a varied amino acid pattern.
Read more about helping old horses gain and keep weight in chapter 4.