Veterinary Care Services for Horses & Donkeys

We offer a comprehensive list of veterinary health care for horses and donkeys at Western Ontario Equine Services. Located in Ilderton, we treat animals throughout Southwestern Ontario for routine veterinary care as well as dentistry, reproduction services and more.


With 2 well-equipped mobile units, we provide emergency care for colic, wounds and medical issues 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We look forward to working with your animals; contact us today to schedule an appointment.


Click on the links below to find out more about the services we offer:

dentistry | horse dental exam

We offer performance dentistry and corrective floating as well as dental radiographs to diagnose diseased teeth and sinuses. A thorough exam is included to identify any malocclusions, sharp points, front or rear hooks and ramps, tall teeth and wave mouth arcades.


Many of the problems resulting from lack of routine dental care develop slowly. It is always best for your horse if you schedule regular dental exams and procedures.


Schedule an appointment with us immediately if you note any of the following symptoms:


  • Foul breath
  • Head tossing, head shyness
  • Poor condition, dull coat
  • Failure to take lead or bit
  • Difficulty when being ridden or driven
  • Pulling the head to one side while being driven or ridden
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of performance
  • Dropping grain from the mouth
  • Reluctance to eat
  • Large particles of hay/feed in stool
  • Eating larger amounts of grain without accompanying weight gain
  • Quidding
  • Facial swelling or deformity
  • Colic or throat impaction
  • Frothing/excessive salivation
  • Nose bleed or respiratory problems caused by swelling in nasal tract or sinuses
  • Draining abscess from the jaw


Why Horses Need Dental Care

A horse’s mouth could be compared to a steering wheel on a car. A horse with a healthy mouth has power steering. Regular dental care removes irritation and malocclusions and helps maintain your horses’ health and performance. It’s also cost-effective. A healthy horse requires less feed to obtain required nutrition.


smiling horse

About Your Horse's Teeth

Horses have hypsodont teeth. Contrary to human teeth that remain the same for a lifetime, equine teeth continue to grow and wear down throughout its life.


A horse's teeth pulverize fodder and crush grain with a side to side chewing action. This lateral motion creates sharp edges (called points) and irregular surfaces on the teeth. Points can be painful and may actually cut the inside of the horse's cheek.


Before we domesticated horses for our use, they spent 12-16 hours a day grazing on coarse forage. Chewing forage necessitates wider lateral movement than chewing the grain and pellets we feed our horses. As a result, modern feed does not encourage the more regular tooth wear found in wild horses.


Uneven biting and chewing surfaces make it difficult for the horse to process feed and get the nutrition it needs for optimum health and performance. Incomplete chewing of feed leads to incomplete digestion and nutrient absorption (and sometimes colic). A painful or unbalanced mouth makes the bit uncomfortable and leads to performance problems and difficulty in riding or driving the horse.


Performance Dentistry & Maintenance

Horses need dental care throughout their lives. Regular dental maintenance corrects problems before they jeopardize the horse's health and performance.


Recommended Dental Care Schedule

  • Foals
    • Check early in life for normal dentition
    • Correct problems such as overbite or under-bite
  • 2-6 Years
    • Horse replaces deciduous (baby) teeth with permanent teeth
    • Up to 20 more permanent teeth erupt
    • Check for and remove caps/cap fragments from baby teeth
    • Remove wolf teeth
  • Adults
    • Need yearly dental care to maintain a balanced mouth
    • Some horses may require twice yearly maintenance
    • Monitor and correct wear problems, disease
    • Emergency care (broken teeth, oral abrasions, abscesses, injuries)
  • Geriatric
    • Regular maintenance and balanced dentition add years to a horse's life


Types of Dental Problems in Horses


Incisors

  • Incisors Overlong: prevents molars from making contact to grind food
  • Dorsal curvature (frowning incisors): abnormal wear forms a downward curve in bite
  • Ventral curvature (smiling incisors): abnormal wear forms an upward curve in bite
  • Brachygnathism (parrot mouth): misalignment of upper incisors - the upper incisors overlap in front of the lower incisors when mouth is closed
  • Prognathism: misalignment of upper incisors that puts them behind the lower incisors when mouth closes


Molars

  • Overlong (excessive crowns): prevents proper occlusion (contact) with opposing molar for grinding food
  • Hooks: form when improper contact makes the tooth wear more on one side than another, forming a sharp hook in the enamel. Hooks prevent proper chewing. Long hooks can actually pierce the horse's gum or cheek, leading to infection.
  • Ramps: tooth wears unevenly forming a slant, or ramp. Ramps also interfere with chewing.
  • Steps: caused by overgrowth in a molar table (group of molars) caused by malocclusion (bad contact of chewing surfaces)
  • Waves: a whole row of uneven molars that interferes with normal jaw movement for chewing
  • Excessive transverse ridges: improper alignment leads to uneven wear, forming hard ridges and points


Wolf Teeth

  • Rudimentary premolars in front of the molars
  • Interfere with the bit and, if impacted, can become inflamed


Caps

  • Deciduous or baby teeth that fail to shed
  • Interfere with proper eruption of permanent teeth
  • Interfere with chewing
  • Root abscesses that can lead to sinusitis


Other Problems

  • Missing, loose or broken teeth
  • Cavities and necrotic (infected) teeth
  • Root abscesses that can lead to sinusitis

Lameness Service

lameness services | horse hooves

We offer comprehensive lameness examinations and diagnostics including digital radiography and ultrasonography, cryotherapy, joint injections, and Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy.


With our portable digital radiography systems we are able to acquire amazing DR images quickly and easily both at our mobile home base and on-site at the farm.


Pre-Purchase Examinations

pre-purchase exams | bay horse

These exams are tailored to each prospective buyer's requests and may include a full physical exam of the horse, medical history, performance exam and flexion tests.


Digital radiography, ultrasonography and endoscopy are offered as imaging modalities. Radiographs are routinely taken as part of the pre-purchase exam. A full set of x-rays provides valuable information by which to base the purchase decision, a baseline for that particular horse and a basis for later proving that insignificant x-ray changes in the horse have been unchanged over a period of time.

Preventative Health

preventative health | giving a shot

This includes annual vaccinations such as rabies, tetanus, eastern/western equine encephalitis, west nile virus and flu/rhino. We also offer general health exams, insurance exams, Coggins tests, Complete Blood Count (CBC) and biochemistry blood work as well as fecal exams, deworming and nutritional advice.

Fecal Analysis

horses in stalls

Internal parasites, or worms, are silent thieves and killers. They can cause extensive internal damage, with the effects ranging from a dull hair coat, unthriftiness, colic and even death. They lower your horses’ resistance to infection, steal valuable nutrients and can cause permanent organ damage.


Whichever deworming product or program you use, it is important to have your veterinarian perform occasional fecal egg counts to make sure your deworming program is effective.


At Western Ontario Equine Services we utilize the McMaster Quantitative Egg Count. This gives us a precise number of parasite eggs per gram of feces, and identification of the type of parasite present.

Reproduction

reproductive services | mare and foal

We provide services to help manage mare breeding cycles including ultrasound examination, artificial insemination, uterine culture/sensitivity, biopsies and all aspects of foaling assistance and neonatal care.

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