Newly Identified Dental Condition in Middle-Aged Horses

Notice the food impaction and the inflamed and receding gums of this horse with EOTRH.

Veterinarians have recently identified a dental condition principally seen in older horses. Equine Odontoclastic Tooth Resorption and Hypercementosis (EOTRH) is a painful condition principally seen in horses over the age of 15. EOTRH is characterized by the horse’s body resorbing the bone and tissue surrounding the incisor and canine roots. Tooth resorption in itself is a very painful and progressive condition and can cause gums to recede allowing feed to pack between the teeth ultimately causing inflammation and infection.

Owners may initially notice an excessive build-up of tarter on their horse’s incisors with a reluctance to grasp a carrot or hard treat with the incisors. Horses with EOTRH may also shake their head, show reluctance to the bit, hypersalivate, have poor appetite, and lose weight. Additionally, the horse may be resistant to having his mouth handled or teeth examined.

Diagnosis of EOTRH is made through an oral examination and dental radiographs to determine the extent of the resorption of the tooth root. Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for EOTRH. Extracting the affected tooth or teeth is the only treatment. The horse is usually placed on a round of antibiotics and NSAIDS post-extraction and generally does quite well once healed and the pain of the condition is relieved. Early diagnosis and treatment of EOTRH will make your horse more healthy and comfortable. Our veterinarians would be happy to answer any EOTRH questions you have.