The British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) has launched the Equine Happy Mouth campaign to increase awareness of equine oral health.

Leaflets were sent to equine practices last month outlining the risks of disease and dental problems in horses and donkeys and website material and slides are also available.

BEVA spokesman Henry Tremaine said: “Dental health is considerably more complex than just rasping teeth as owners may have traditionally believed.

“Research has increased our understanding of the anatomy of equine teeth, clinical signs of dental disease and many other oral health issues.”

He said that with new sedation techniques it was possible to carry out more thorough dental examinations and catch dental disease at a much earlier stage.

A clinical workshop in equine dentistry for vets was held in March at Newbury and four courses in equine dentistry have been run during 2010, including one specifically about the care of elderly horses’ teeth.

The equine happy mouth campaign is the first of a series of annual equine health projects to be championed by BEVA.

Future topics include laminitis, obesity, metabolic disease and mare and foal management.

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (9 September, ’10)