Dental Care

Dentistry is a vital part of the routine care of your horse, and we recommend that your horse’s mouth and teeth are examined at least once a year; however some individuals with specific abnormalities may benefit from more regular examinations. Our vets are all experienced in equine dentistry and are equipped with gags, head torches, head stands, mirrors and a selection of hand and motorised rasps.

As vets, we are able to perform equine dental care under sedation. There are a lot of benefits to working under sedation, but the biggest plus for us is that a sedated horse allows our vet to thoroughly explore your horse's mouth to inspect for any abnormalities or early signs of pathology without the fear or discomfort some horses may experience. We can take the time to have a good look around with our torches lighting up the oral cavity to comprehensively check for anything that shouldn't be there.  As routine dental exams often happen only once a year, it is a great opportunity to a check on the overall health of your horse's mouth

Why is Routine Dental Care Essential?

  • Horse’s teeth erupt (do not grow) over most of the horse’s life at a rate of 2-3mm/year
  • The lower jaw of the horse is narrower than the upper jaw, which can predispose to the development of sharp enamel points on the outside (buccal) aspect and inside (lingual) aspect of the cheek teeth. 
  • The rate of eruption is normally balanced out by the rate of wear achieved from the horse’s natural circular chewing action when eating large volumes of grass and fibre.
  • Feeding increased levels of concentrate feed and lower quantities of fibre will result in a reduced chewing action, causing less wear and can lead to dental overgrowths and sharp enamel points that can cause ulcers and lacerations to the tongue and inside of the mouth.
  • The sharp enamel points can be made increasingly more painful by bridles and bits which press against the sharp points.
  • When a horse works on the bit it needs to be able to drop the lower jaw forward, which any overgrown teeth will prevent.

Recognising Dental Problems

Horses with dental problems may show obvious signs, such as pain or irritation, or they may show no noticeable signs at all. This is due to the fact horses are stoic animals, and some simply adapt to their discomfort. For this reason, periodic dental examinations are essential. Indicators of dental problems include:

  • Halitosis (bad smelling breath)
  • Dropping food (quidding) while eating, difficulty with chewing, or excessive salivation
  • Loss of body condition/ Weight loss
  • Large or undigested feed particles (long stems or whole grain) in manure
  • Head tilting or tossing, bit chewing, tongue lolling, evading the bit, or resisting bridling
  • Poor performance, such as lugging on the bridle, failing to turn or stop, even bucking
  • Foul odour from mouth or nostrils, or traces of blood from the mouth
  • Nasal discharge or swelling of the face, jaw, or mouth tissues
  • Colic/ Choke

Common Dental Problems

  • Abnormal wear patterns with sharp enamel edges on both the lower and upper check teeth. This can cause painful ulcers and erosions of the soft tissues of the cheek or tongue
  • Overgrowth is either secondary to a misaligned jaw (parrot mouth) or as a result of a missing tooth
  • Fractured, displaced, loose or missing cheek teeth
  • Diastema (gaps between the teeth where food collects) causing gum disease
  • Caries: tooth decay
  • Tooth root abscess
  • Retained deciduous (baby) teeth
  • Blind (un-erupted) or abnormally large or displaced wolf teeth
  • Abnormalities of the incisors

Will My Horse Be Sedated?

When rasping, accuracy is important when using either manual or automated tools and it is easier to be precise with these tools if the horse's head stays relatively still. Non-motorised rasps could potentially damage soft tissues if the horse’s head jerks or moves, so while it may feel counter-intuitive to some, a motorised tool on a sedated horse allows for much greater control and precision. Equally, all of our vets have experience with both hand floating techniques as well as the use of motorised dental equipment and both techniques have a place in practice depending on the specific needs of the case and preferences of the horse. 

Our vets are so experienced with using sedatives, and they can be used safely and side effects are rare. Some owners have concerns about sedation and we understand that. If this is something you'd like to discuss or if you have anything you'd like clarified with regards to dentistry by our vets, please don't hesitate to contact us on 01782 510 502.

We always come to you! We have hospital-grade veterinary and diagnostic tools which are entirely mobile, which means you have the convenience of keeping your horse right where they are.
We are proud to be a local, family-run practice, and if your horse needs specialist treatment, we are free to refer them to the top experts in the country for their specific needs, not where a corporate dictates.
Over 20 years as a practice we have built an outstanding reputation for trustworthy care, treatment and professionalism - and our team of vets have devoted their careers exclusively to equine medicine.
We offer an out-of-hours service for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year so you always have our support and your peace of mind.

Our Services



Routine castration of colts can be performed at your home stables, ideally during the spring or autumn.
Dental Care

Dental Care

We provide expert routine dental care and examinations - as the condition of your horse’s mouth plays such an important role in their overall health and welfare.


We know that emergencies can happen any time of the day or night - and we offer the assurance that you always have the veterinary support you need standing by. We offer our own in-house emergency cover, meaning you will always see one of our vets in your time of need.
Equipment and Diagnostics

Equipment and Diagnostics

We are proud to be a fully ambulatory practice and welcome the fact that modern mobile technology allows us to effectively deliver treatment and diagnoses at the convenience of your stable.
Euthanasia and Equine Bereavement

Euthanasia and Equine Bereavement

We are privileged in veterinary medicine to have the ability to end suffering, and have a responsibility to work with you to do so in a way that is painless and minimises stress for all involved.


Gastroscopy continues to be the only reliable method for the diagnosis of gastric ulcers in horses. At Agnew, we offer this service using our mobile equipment at your home stables to avoid any additional stress caused by transporting your horse or pony.
Internal Medicine

Internal Medicine

We examine horses for a wide range of medical problems including weight loss, diarrhoea, respiratory disease, urinary disorders and skin disease right at your stables.
Laboratory Services

Laboratory Services

We have close links with a number of outstanding veterinary clinical laboratories in Newmarket and around the country - and we are able to choose the most appropriate and experienced lab depending on what we are testing for.
Lameness Investigations

Lameness Investigations

Our vets have a great reputation for their lameness investigations at the convenience of your own stables. Stuart is one of only 21 vets in the country who is an Advanced Practitioner in Equine Orthopaedics.
Pre-Purchase Exams (Vettings)

Pre-Purchase Exams (Vettings)

Vettings are very important and are one of the most consequential things you’ll ask your vet to do – because purchasing a horse is a big decision! On that basis, Robin, Arnie & Stuart carry out the majority of our vettings as we feel experience is key to delivering the best outcome for you and the horse.
Reproductive Services

Reproductive Services

We offer a variety of reproductive services for your mare including artificial insemination, ultrasound scanning and pregnancy diagnosis, twin pregnancy management, foal management and vaccinations to prevent abortion.
Routine Health Care

Routine Health Care

At Agnew Equine, we believe that keeping your horse happy and healthy starts with Routine Preventative Care; vaccinations, regular dentistry, parasite control are fundamental to the well-being of your horse and doing all you can to ensure they live long and healthy lives.


As an independent practice, our vets at Agnew Equine are able to review each case and, where necessary, recommend referral to the most appropriate hospital in the circumstances to help with the specialised care of your horse or pony.
“My best advice is register with Agnew Equine - they are the best!” Louisa Kelly
“Love these vets - wouldn’t go anywhere else! Fantastic.” Paulina Nicholls
“A great team of vets! Calm, caring, experts with a professional manner” Kelly Pope
“Best vets anyone could have. Fantastic in all ways.” Angela Frost
“By far the most attentive and polite practice I’ve come across”
Agnew EquineHot Lane Farm, Hot LaneBiddulph MoorStoke-on-TrentStaffordshireST8 7HP01782 510502find us
Opening Hours
Monday to Friday
8.30am - 5.30pm
In An Emergency

We offer an out-of-hours service for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Simply call the practice on 01782 510502 to access our support.

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