E.O.T.R.H. (Equine Odontoclastic Tooth Resorption and Hypercementosis) is a disease process of the incisor and canine teeth mostly seen in older horses. For reasons unknown, the body begins to resorb the bone and surrounding gum tissue. With increased loss, pockets will form causing feed to accumulate between the teeth and a subsequent infection occurs. The infection can further destroy the bone along with ligaments holding the teeth in place. Cementum (the hard covering of a horse’s tooth) proliferates near the gum line causing the incisors to take on a characteristic rounded and overgrown appearance. This disease process can be painful and cause the horse to become reluctant to eat.
E.O.T.R.H. can be treated with partial or full removal of the incisor teeth. Many clients wonder, “How will my horse eat without front teeth?” But horses tend to do well and typically go back to normal feed within 24 hours after the procedure. Steinbeck Peninsula Equine Clinics Surgery Director and dental specialist Dr. Nick Carlson routinely performs this surgery and explains, “By the time the disease has progressed enough to warrant complete incisor removal, the horse has likely already adapted to using their tongue and cheeks to graze and chew.”
This procedure can be done in the hospital and usually only requires a 1-night stay. The extractions are done with the horse standing, using intravenous sedation and local anesthesia. The horse is typically fed a wet pelleted mash that evening and begins back on normal feed the following day. Owners have reported significant improvements in behavior following extraction, such as increased energy, brightened attitude, eagerness to eat, and lessened facial sensitivity.
If you believe your horse might be experiencing this or any other dental problem, please call to schedule an appointment with a member of our team.