MSD Manual

Please confirm that you are a health care professional

honeypot link
Professional Version

Periodontal Disease in Large Animals


Jack Easley

, DVM, MS, DAVDC (Equine), DABVP (EQ), Easley Equine Dentistry, Shelbyville, KY

Reviewed/Revised Dec 2013 | Modified Oct 2022

In all animals, a degree of inflammatory change occurs during the eruption of both the deciduous and permanent teeth. However, if malocclusion occurs, severe periodontal disease is inevitable. In horses, this is a common sequela of diastema formation, oral trauma, dental fractures, and impactions, and it is usually accompanied by irregular wear.

In sheep, periodontal disease of the mandibular rostral teeth (incisors) is often referred to as broken mouth. Sometimes, the viability of grazing sheep is affected dramatically. The productive life of many farm-fed sheep is often 2 yr longer than that of range-fed animals. Little can be done to alter the progress of this disease, although dental prophylaxis and restoration of occlusal regularity of the incisor teeth has been recommended. This can be done by use of a dental grinder or a fine-bladed tooth float.

quiz link

Test your knowledge

Take a Quiz!