Equine Odontoclastic Tooth Resorption and Hypercementosis
EOTRH is a disorder of the incisors (and possibly the canines) in the older horse. It is a slowly developing disorder in which some or all of the incisors are affected. The condition is described by a resorption (dissolution) of the tooth in combination with the formation of abnormal amounts of cement around the roots. There is a form in which the teeth become very brittle (with a lot of gum reaction) and a form in which the roots of the tooth become extremely thick (often with much less gum reaction). Of course, all mixed forms also occur.
Horses suffering from EOTRH are characterised by one or more of the symptoms listed below;
➢ abnormal amount of calculus
➢ Thickening of the incisors at root level
➢ Ignited and reactive gums, possibly small fistulas (openings)
➢ Loose incisors
When EOTRH has affected several teeth and/or has reached a more advanced stage, it becomes a very painful condition. These horses often eat with difficulty, salivate a lot and stink from the mouth.
The exact cause of EOTRH is not yet known. It is an autoimmune disorder (the body attacks its own incisors, so to speak) that occurs more (but not exclusively) in older horses (+14yo) and is also more common in some breeds. The Icelandic appears to be particularly susceptible to this disease.
Often, the clinical signs are sufficient to make a diagnosis, and an X-ray examination of the incisors may clarify the extent of the condition.
Treatment & Prognosis
Unfortunately, to this date, there is no drug treatment that can stop or cure the disease process. Experimentally, corticosteroids seem to be able to slow down the process. In most cases, therefore, the affected incisors need to be extracted. Once the bad teeth have been extracted, these horses can eat 'normally' again. Horses without incisors can eat amazingly well and can easily 'cut' off grass with the tongue and palate.
Horses with all incisors removed will often leave the tip of their tongue hanging out of their mouth. For most horses, however, this does not have to be anything more than a beauty flaw.
For more information about this disorder or other dental problems in horses, you can always contact us.