What you see. The starting point for addressing any equine health related issue is your observation.


Teeth are Discolored, Stained or Caked in Material


The majority of a horse's teeth (the grinding cheek teeth) are not easily visible. What are easily visible are the front nipping teeth (the incisors) and the canine teeth (mostly only found in male horses) behind them.

The canine teeth often become caked in yellow tartar. In most cases, taken alone without any other signs of injury or illness, this is not harmful. Your vet will often choose to remove tartar when they perform routine dental care.

Horses grazing on pastures with certain soil types may develop mineral staining of the incisor teeth, which can appear as a dark brown or almost black color. In most cases this is not harmful.

There is however, an abnormal condition known as Equine Odontoclastic Tooth Resorption & Hypercementosis (EOTRH), which causes change in color and appearance of the enamel of the front teeth. Your vet can differentiate normal findings from this condition.

  • Code Yellow

    Contact Your Vet at Your Convenience for an Appointment
    • If you think your horses may be in need of routine dental care.
    • To discuss your equine's general health and management.
  • Code Green

    Contact Your Vet to Obtain Useful Advice & Resources
    • To discuss your equine's general health and management.

your role


What To Do

If you have questions about the appearance of your horse's teeth, take a photo and send it to your vet for further discussion.

your vet's role

Your vet performs an oral and dental exam to determine the nature of the problem and whether any treatment is needed.
Questions Your Vet Might Ask:
  • Does the horse have difficulty chewing or eating?
  • How old is the horse?
  • Does the horse seem normal to you otherwise?
  • Is the horse kept on pasture?

Treatments Your Vet May Recommend

A way to resolve the condition or diagnosis. Resolving the underlying cause or treating the signs of disease (symptomatic treatment)

Very Common
more treatments

further reading & resources

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP