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.
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.
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!