Quidding is a potential problem for aging horses but it’s easily addressed with regular dental care. A horse who quids will drop partially chewed food out of his mouth while chewing. James Cormier, Jr., of Precision Equine Floating in Fall River, MA, says 99% of the time, quidding is related to the aging process of the horse.
A horse’s adult teeth erupt between the ages of 3 and 5 and are fully mature by age 10 or 12. The process of chewing wears the teeth down, but, because the upper teeth sit on the outside of the lower teeth, the outer part of the upper teeth and the inner part of the lower teeth form razor-sharp points or hooks. As teeth age, the process of “fer-cation” occurs – the teeth get brittle, loose and crack. If the teeth are not maintained properly, quidding can develop.
Cormier, a Master Equine Floater, say, “As long as the owners [implement] a 6-month maintenance schedule for their horses, quidding is manageable. I have had 100% correction with every horse I have worked on that quids.” He often recommends that owners supplement their horses with hay stretchers or another form of roughage to ensure the horse’s dietary needs are met with their older teeth.
Dr. Candace Benyei of the Whole-Health Equine Clinic in Redding, CT, notes, “If teeth are not floated, hooks can actually lock the jaw and prevent the horse from moving the jaw fully side to side, thereby preventing the horse from masticating grain and hay.” Benyei recommends that a dentist be called immediately in this situation to float the teeth, and that a speculum be used during the process so that the back molars can be attended to properly.
Benyei has been breeding and raising horses for 40 years and says, “If a horse’s teeth are well maintained from the age of 2 onward, it will probably never quid unless it acquires a neurological disorder. My horses often live to the age of 30, and we have never had one of our own drop food out of its mouth while chewing.”
She also notes, “Some horse owners may have heard the rumor that feeding sweet feed will solve the problem because the food will stick in the horse’s mouth. This is not a viable solution – the only solution for quidding is to float the horse’s teeth.”
Cormier adds, “Another dental problem that can be seen in horses that quid is periodontal pockets because of the extensive amount of time horses spend chewing with hay in their mouth. Food gets in around the ‘fer-cated’ teeth and sits there. When I check the horse’s mouth by hand I remove all of the food and flush the mouth out. Periodontal pockets can also be prevented by flushing and frequent appointments.”
Stacey Stearns is a lifelong equine enthusiast from Connecticut who enjoys Competitive Trail Riding with her gelding and learning the ins and outs of dressage with her mare.
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