Archive for June, 2013

Equine Skull Anatomy, interesting facts.

Monday, June 17th, 2013

anatomy

– Horses have 36-44 teeth; 12 incisors, 24 cheek teeth, 4 canine teeth (male horses), and up to 4 wolf teeth.

– Baby teeth are fully replaced by adults at 5 years of age.

– Horse’s teeth grow 1/8 inch each year.

– Young adults teeth are up to 4.5 inches long.

– The upper jaw is wider than the lower jaw.

– Horses chew in a side-to-side figure 8 pattern.

Case study: Large enamel point

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

These photos are of a 17 year old Quarter Horse stallion.  He was is good condition but was dropping grain while eating.  You can see a very large and sharp enamel point on his upper right 4th cheek tooth.  Enamel points this large are painful due to the ulceration they cause to nearby cheek and tongue.  The points also restrict the side-to-side grinding motion of the mouth when a horse chews.

 

Removing the enamel points is a relatively simple, noninvasive procedure.  We use specific grinding tools to reach certain teeth of the horse’s mouth.  The ulcers usually heal in a week or less.

This horse also had large hooks with points located on both lower back cheek teeth.  These teeth are difficult to photograph due to the tongue being in the way.  They are also the most difficult to reach during the dental procedure.  The photo below shows a large ulcer in the back of the mouth that was caused by the hooks on the lower teeth.  Every time this horse closed his mouth the sharp points of the hooks were digging into the soft tissue in the back of his mouth.

Good equine dentistry must address the back part of the horse’s mouth.  This area is difficult to visualize and to work on, making sedation, a full mouth speculum,  and proper equipment very important.

David Warren, D.V.M.