Equine Odontoclastic Tooth Resorption and Hypercementosis (EOTRH) is a painful syndrome usually found in older patients. EOTRH is a gradual process, and is often not diagnosed until it is severe. Early signs include having difficulty biting off bits of carrot, head shyness, and decreased appetite. Eventually it can progress to swelling of the gums, loose and/or fractured teeth, irritability, and in some cases signs of infection such as bruising and discharge from the gums.
Caries on affected tooth and abscess on gingiva above gum line (small bump)
Affected tooth fractured at gum line with abscess below gumline (small bump)
EOTRH gets its name as the roots of the incisors, and sometimes even canines, are resorbed in the disease process. In severe cases extra cement, a type of calcified tissue found in teeth normally, can be found on the surface of the tooth. Unfortunately we do not yet know why this process occurs. Therefore we do not know how to prevent it. However we do know how to diagnose and treat it.
Diagnosis is based on radiographs (x-rays) as the bulk of the disease process, especially early on, occurs below the gum line.
With radiographs you can see the root of the tooth begins to look moth eaten compared to the normal teeth next to it. Treatment at this state is much easier. When left untreated the root often becomes enlarged and bulbous, which makes treatment more difficult. At this point you will often see large bulbous swellings of the gums, and sometimes pinpoint bruises as small abscesses form.
Normal Incisors Courtesy AVDC.org
Treatment for EOTRH is extraction of the affected teeth. Horses do extremely well without incisors, and can even graze without them!
EOTRH is just one of the many reasons to have a yearly dental exam by a qualified veterinarian performed on your horse. Give High Tide Veterinary Services a call today to schedule an exam!
Dentistry is an area that it often over looked, however it is extremely important for the health and comfort of the horse. As horses age their teeth continue to erupt. As they eat the teeth are worn down. This creates sharp edges along the pre-molars and molars, which can then injure the sensitive mucosa and tongue. These sharp points can be very painful for the horse. Common signs are dropping feed while eating, packing feed in the mouth, weight loss, behavior trouble while riding, etc. Some horses may show no signs at all while very sharp points cause them pain.
Horses can also suffer from other problems in the mouth. Painful diastemata, where food gets stuck in-between two teeth, can lead to dental disease. It is important to address the diastemata before it gets severe. Treatment ranges from simply removing the feed to corrective dentistry.
Fractures can also occur to the teeth. In some cases the tooth may be saved, however in severe cases extraction must occur. After extraction the opposing tooth must be corrected every 6-12 months.
Sharp points, diastemata, fractures, and other dental pathology are all important reasons to have a qualified veterinarian provide dental services for your horse. To diagnose and address these issues requires a proper oral exam with a speculum, light, and sedation. Without a proper oral exam diseases are frequently missed, especially in the far back of the mouth. Dental care should start at a young age so that problems can be fixed before they progress. Older horses often require more frequent dental care to address their aging dentition. Every horse should have a sedated oral exam by a qualified veterinarian at least yearly.
Dr. Lee has a special interest in dentistry. In veterinary school she completed a research project looking at peripheral caries in horses, which was recently published in the journal Equine Veterinary Education. She has spent extra time learning from experts in the field to better care for your horses, and looks forward to helping your horse with his/her dental needs.
High Tide Veterinary Services is excited to announce the addition of equine dentistry services starting in January 2019. Horses owners in the San Diego area can benefit from a qualified veterinarian available to provide dental care for their horses. High Tide Veterinary Services works with your normal veterinarian to provide excellent care. Contact us today to schedule your appointment!