Horses With Jaw Deformities
There are two conditions affecting the teeth and mouth of horses that are of great importance and MUST NOT be over looked. Number one is an “Overshot Jaw” or better known as a “Parrot Mouth”. This is where the teeth of the upper jaw protrude in front of the teeth of the lower jaw. This is a Hereditary/Congenital defect and such horses must not be used for breeding. It is considered an unsoundness.
This is a serious deformity and in some cases, so severe that the horse has difficulty feeding and in fact may not be able to graze sufficiently to survive. A horse uses his front Incisors to nip the grass off and with the Incisors not being aligned he simply cannot eat. Such horses are also prone to Colic because of improperly chewed food before swallowing.
Bridling such a horse is often impossible for the bit to rest comfortably in the horse’s mouth, resulting in the horse fighting the bit and thus unable to be trained decently and kindly.
It is also impossible to tell the age of the horse since the teeth do not wear down in a normal pattern for ascertaining the age through examination of the Incisors.
Also a horse dentist must continually float such as horse’s teeth if it is to have any kind of normal teeth wear what so ever. In severe cases, an attempt may be made to cause the bottom jaw to extend through Surgical Intervention. This has yet to be proven to work. Euthanasia is recommended for horses with severe Parrot Mouth.
Number two and although not seen as often as the dreaded “Parrot Mouth” is just as bad and is called an “Undershot Jaw”. This is where the teeth of the lower jaw protrude in front of the teeth of the upper jaw. All of the above applies to this type of jaw deformity also.