Horse Behaviour Horse Care

What does it mean when a horse is quidding?

Quidding in horses refers to a condition where a horse drops partially chewed food or hay from its mouth while eating.

This can occur due to various dental issues such as sharp enamel points, dental overgrowths, or missing teeth, which can cause discomfort or pain while chewing.

When a horse quids, it may be unable to properly masticate its food, leading to inefficient digestion and potential weight loss.

It’s crucial to address the underlying dental problems causing quidding to ensure the horse’s overall health and well-being.

Regular dental check-ups and proper dental care are essential for preventing and managing quidding in horses.

Veterinary dental specialists can help diagnose and treat dental issues in horses to alleviate quidding and promote proper nutrition and digestion.

What causes quidding in a horse?

Quidding in horses is primarily caused by various dental issues that result in discomfort or pain while chewing, leading the horse to drop partially chewed food from its mouth. Some of the common causes of quidding include:

  1. Dental overgrowths: Over time, a horse’s teeth can develop sharp enamel points or overgrowths, which can create painful points of contact during chewing, causing the horse to drop food from its mouth.
  2. Dental malocclusions: Misalignments in the horse’s teeth, such as hooks, ramps, or waves, can result in improper chewing and difficulty in breaking down food, leading to quidding.
  3. Missing or broken teeth: Horses with missing or broken teeth may struggle to adequately chew their food, causing discomfort and hindering the digestion process.
  4. Periodontal disease: Inflammation or infection of the tissues surrounding the teeth, known as periodontal disease, can lead to pain and discomfort while eating, prompting the horse to quid.
  5. Inadequate dental care: A lack of regular dental check-ups and appropriate dental care can contribute to the development of various dental issues, exacerbating the risk of quidding.

How to stop quidding.

To stop quidding in horses, it’s important to address the underlying dental issues that are causing the discomfort and difficulty in chewing.

Here are some effective steps you can take to help prevent and manage quidding:

  1. Regular dental check-ups: Schedule regular dental examinations with a qualified veterinarian or equine dental specialist. These professionals can identify and address any dental issues before they escalate, helping to prevent quidding.
  2. Dental floating: Dental floating is a procedure that involves filing down sharp enamel points or overgrowths on the teeth, creating a smoother surface for more comfortable chewing. This can significantly reduce the discomfort and pain associated with quidding.
  3. Dietary adjustments: Providing a diet that is easier to chew and digest can help alleviate the challenges of quidding. Incorporate softer feeds, such as soaked hay or hay cubes, and ensure a balanced diet with adequate roughage to support proper digestion.
  4. Maintaining oral hygiene: Implement good oral hygiene practices, such as regular brushing and cleaning of the horse’s teeth, to prevent the accumulation of food particles and plaque that can contribute to dental issues and quidding.
  5. Addressing missing or broken teeth: If the horse has missing or broken teeth, consult with a veterinarian to explore appropriate treatment options. This may involve adjusting the diet or considering dental prosthetics to facilitate proper chewing and prevent quidding.
  6. Providing ample water: Ensure the horse has access to clean and fresh water at all times to promote proper hydration and aid in the digestion of food, reducing the likelihood of quidding.
  7. Monitoring dental health: Regularly observe the horse’s eating behaviour and check for any signs of quidding. Promptly address any changes in eating habits or signs of discomfort to prevent the progression of dental issues and minimize the impact of quidding.

Identifying the specific dental problem causing quidding is crucial in implementing the appropriate treatment and management strategies to alleviate discomfort and ensure the horse’s optimal health and well-being.

Regular dental examinations by a qualified veterinarian or equine dental specialist can help prevent and address these underlying dental issues, reducing the likelihood of quidding in horses.

Non-obvious symptoms of quidding.

While quidding in horses is often associated with dropping partially chewed food or hay from the mouth, there are some non-obvious symptoms that can indicate its presence.

These may include:

  1. Weight loss: Quidding can lead to inefficient chewing and digestion, resulting in decreased nutrient absorption and weight loss over time. Monitoring the horse’s weight regularly can help identify any unexplained fluctuations that may be linked to quidding.
  2. Changes in behaviour during feeding: Horses experiencing discomfort from quidding may display behavioural changes during feeding, such as agitation, reluctance to approach the food, or a preference for softer feeds. Observing any alterations in the horse’s feeding behaviour can provide valuable insights into potential underlying dental issues.
  3. Decreased energy levels: Chronic quidding can affect the horse’s overall energy levels and performance. If you notice a decrease in the horse’s energy, enthusiasm, or performance, it could be indicative of underlying dental problems, including quidding.
  4. Reduced appetite: Horses may exhibit a reduced appetite or show disinterest in their usual feed, especially if they experience pain or discomfort while chewing. Monitoring changes in the horse’s appetite can help identify potential dental issues, including quidding.
  5. Changes in faecal consistency: In some cases, inefficient digestion due to quidding can lead to changes in faecal consistency, such as the presence of undigested food particles. Monitoring the horse’s faecal output and consistency can provide additional clues about its digestive health and the presence of quidding.

It’s important to remain attentive to these non-obvious symptoms and regularly observe the horse’s behaviour, feeding patterns, and overall well-being.

Promptly consulting with a veterinarian or equine dental specialist can help diagnose and address quidding, as well as any underlying dental issues, ensuring the horse’s continued health and comfort.

What to do when you have a quidding horse that is losing weight?

First you call the vet and have them come out as soon as possible.

Taking immediate action is crucial.

While you wait for the vet or for the day when your horse’s dental care day, there are steps you can take to mitigate the problem.

  1. Modify the diet: Offer softer feeds that are easier for the horse to chew and digest, such as soaked hay, hay cubes, or specially formulated senior feeds. Ensuring a well-balanced and easily digestible diet can help maintain the horse’s nutritional intake during this period.
  2. Increase feeding frequency: Divide the daily feed into smaller, more frequent meals to make it easier for the horse to consume and digest the food. This can help compensate for any difficulties the horse may be experiencing while chewing and ensure a sufficient intake of nutrients.
  3. Provide high-quality forage: Ensure the availability of high-quality forage, such as fresh grass or high-grade hay, which can provide essential nutrients and aid in maintaining the horse’s weight and overall health.
  4. Monitor water intake: Ensure the horse has access to clean and fresh water at all times to prevent dehydration and support proper digestion. Encourage adequate water intake, especially if the horse’s condition is impacting its appetite or feeding habits.
  5. Reduce stress: Minimize stress factors in the horse’s environment, as stress can further impact its health and well-being. Provide a calm and comfortable living space, adequate shelter, and social interaction to promote a sense of security and well-being.
  6. Regular monitoring: Continuously monitor the horse’s weight, behaviour, and appetite to track any changes or improvements. Keep a record of these observations to provide valuable information to the veterinarian during the dental examination.
  7. Provide supportive care: Offer gentle and supportive care to the horse, ensuring it remains comfortable and free from unnecessary physical exertion or stress. Regular grooming, exercise within the horse’s comfort limits, and ample rest can contribute to its overall well-being during this period.

It’s essential to maintain close communication with the veterinarian, providing updates on the horse’s condition and any changes in its symptoms or behaviour.

By implementing these measures, you can help support your horse’s health and alleviate any potential complications until the veterinarian arrives to provide the necessary dental care.

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