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horse tongue problems

Catch the problem early reduces pain and suffering, and saves money. A fistula or abnormal passage may develop between the oral and nasal cavities, making it necessary to extract the tooth to cure the infection. The horse had shown no obvious signs of the injury. A swollen tongue can result from infection, inflammation or injury. “We’ve done several, and they all healed nicely. But she decided to take the risk: “We had nothing to lose, and it might work,” Nelson says. Learn about the causes and symptoms of six common tongue problems. Most injuries occur in the forward, mobile portion of the tongue. Older horses often develop this problem with age-related changes involving the shape of the mandible. “A horse that has lost very much of the tongue (or it has to be removed after injury) will eat differently, but he generally does OK,” says Connally. In fact, the tongue is one of the few places in the body where an animal has voluntary control of muscles that aren’t attached directly to bones. They may need to be fed with a nasogastric tube until they can nurse.”. As long as he’s eating normally, and you have no troubles with him accepting your bit, why think about it? When people come to me with a problem that they think is bit-related, we quite often find it’s something else, such as a sore back, badly fitting saddle or teeth that need attention. But the loss of even a large portion of the more mobile area of the tongue usually isn’t catastrophic. When this occurs, wolf teeth should be extracted. “We ground that tooth down and he no longer had the irritation and drooling,” says Connally. He doesnt stick it over the bit. The “Spanish Horse” was invented by the Spanish Inquisition in the medieval times to punish those guilty of heresy or witchcraft. Often horses with sores from these sharp cusps will find it painful to chew and they will give up and spit out a half chewed ball of hay. Jump to Latest Follow 1 - 2 of 2 Posts. Wolf teeth can also interfere with the bit, and when this occurs, they should be extracted at 18 to 24 months of age. The gamble paid off: “His tongue healed perfectly, even though it was cut full thickness, more than halfway across the tongue,” Nelson says. The Horse Forum > Keeping and Caring for Horses > Horse Health > Tongue Problems Reply. Not only do these wear patterns interfere with eating, but they also affect the performance of the horse because of interfering with the bit, causing weight loss and making digestion of feed more difficult. If the wound is not discovered promptly, debridement may be neces-sary to remove dead tissue at the site. 5 Equine Dental Care Activities for the Horse Owner, Common Equine Dental Problems and How To Avoid Them, 4 Top Reasons for Making Horse Dental Care a Priority, Your Horse's Mouth and Teeth - Why It Is Important To Have …. It stays in the normal position but he sicks it out the side of his mouth, which is unacceptable for my dressage trainer. If lesions form around the coronary band, inflammation within the foot may result in lameness or laminitis. Reply. A routine exam of the horse's teeth can catch peridontal disease before it leads to painful tooth loss. 1 - 2 of 2 Posts. “If he can’t suck, you might have to train him to drink from a bucket so he can dunk his mouth far enough into the liquid to create suction. • Tongue ties. Whips and tongue ties . This can be transferred to the hindquarter as an inability to engage the hindlimbs. If you use tractor tires as feeders, consider either switching to a different type or at least replacing them when the rubber wears off of the belting. Keep in mind that even healed injuries may affect how a horse responds to a bit, especially if the injury was in or close to the bit path. It is at once a sensory organ---with nerves to detect pain, heat, pressure and taste---and a working tool that enables the horse to eat. Great importance is placed on color, texture, and coating. Horses can get themselves into all kinds of trouble and injure themselves in surprising ways. To work on this kind of injury we just sedate the horse and insert a full-mouth speculum, and then I have a helper hold the tongue out for me. Peak performance and harmony between horse and rider go hand in hand with regular dental care and attention to any developing problems before they become serious enough to affect the horse's health or compromise its well-being. “I’ve only seen a couple of tongue injuries that had to be dealt with; most heal on their own,” says Connally. Excessive salivation is often mistaken as a result of a dental problem just as a horse that is not eating well may be suspected as having colic. Here’s what you need to know. The pharyngeal problems were always more difficult diagnostically and were most often loosely diagnosed after hearing a horse gurgle and in the absence of a laryngeal problem. Jump to our top English bits or top Western bits. He had a hole about two inches in diameter in the bottom of his tongue.”. “No one suspected this situation; the horse seemed perfectly normal.” Horses can cope well even if a large portion of the tongue is lost. Weight loss may be a secondary effect, as a horse with mouth ulcers finds it too painful to eat. And, if you can spot trouble quickly, you’ll be ready to seek help sooner should it be necessary. The roots of these teeth are imbedded in the maxillary sinuses. I’ve pulled several pieces of wire out of tongues,” Connally says. When the bit was holding the tongue down, the horse couldn’t lift it away from the sharp edge. Horse allergy symptoms may occur immediately after you’re around a horse or you can have a delayed response because horse dander can linger on your clothing long after you’ve left a stable. STS Irons Intelligent Ice. Read about tongue problems like hairy tongue, canker sores, oral cancer, geographic tongue, and leukoplakia. That owner never saw it bleeding. Also you can’t bury nylon suture knots or they would act as a foreign body irritation.”, In the case of the stallion with the tongue bitten through by another horse, Nelson was initially dubious about trying sutures. These abnormal wear patterns fall into the following three categories: Another problem that often affects horse's mouths and teeth is periodontal disease that occurs when the gums become infected and separate from the teeth. “We often see foxtail abscesses in tongues, and sometimes stickers and sticks jammed into the tongue. It’s important to check under the tongue as well as the roof of the mouth. “I bought a horse a long time ago at an auction sale---a very nice Quarter Horse mare with papers,” says Tia Nelson, DVM, a veterinarian/farrier from Helena, Montana. When dental problems with your horse arise, always consult an equine dentist or a veterinarian with special training in equine dentistry. If detected at an early age the problem can be treated by applying wire tension bands to the upper jaw, thereby slowing its rate of growth. He’d gotten kicked some time earlier, which pushed one of his lower cheek teeth so that it was leaning inward, and it was poking under his tongue. As for eating, though, most horses do just fine, even with a lot of scar tissue that limits mobility. Even severe tongue injuries may go undetected. “In all the reading that I’d done, the literature said that tongue lacerations don’t heal very well and that the horses often end up losing that part of the tongue,” she says. I’ve seen newborn calves and foals with swollen tongues after a hard birth, and they can’t nurse until the swelling goes down. If there’s too much play in the joint on the mouthpiece, a horse’s tongue could also get pinched. The tongue of a horse with anhidrosis is both dry and red, indicating excessive heat in the body as well as an inability … Sow Mouth: Sow mouth is the opposite of parrot mouth with the lower incisors projecting beyond the uppers much like those in a bull dog. These sharp cusps will often cause soreness, lacerations and ulcers to the sides of the cheeks and to the tongue. jmcdou02. Often the cheek teeth in the upper jaw become infected. “I was called to work on one horse who had licked the sharp edge of some metal siding and cut the tongue about two-thirds of the way off, and I had to remove the rest,” says Connally. So we see that the hyoid … When the roots of these teeth are infected, they cause bacterial sinusitis and a purulent, foul-smelling discharge through the nostril occurs. It is considered to be torture to stretch one on a tight rope (metallic wire), the genitals rubbed until bloodied. Find out what different tongue colors (white, red, black) mean, and read about symptoms and signs, home remedies and treatments, causes, and diagnosis of tongue problems. “There is a very thick muscle back there, and if you look into the mouth and see it you might think there is something wrong with the tongue. Also, some wild grasses, such as foxtails, produce sharp, spiky seedheads called awns that can cause tongue sores and ulcers. “I looked at a horse recently who had a bit scar across 25 percent of the tongue, and the man admitted to me that the horse bucked when he was young and ‘we got a little rough on his mouth.’ But he didn’t know he’d cut the horse’s tongue,” says Connally. Horses do not develop cavities in their teeth. We’ve established that the hyoid is not only connected directly to the tongue, forelimb and poll, but indirectly to the hindquarter. Bleeding is the most immediate sign of a recent tongue injury, but you may not see a lot of blood, if any. Isolate affected horses as well as those who have been exposed to them. I was trying to figure out why she was so hard mouthed, and when I looked into her mouth I found that she had a full-thickness laceration of the tongue that had healed. In contrast, an injury---such as a puncture wound, abscess or ulcer---that occurs in the rear of the mouth can cause enough pain to interfere with chewing. Therefore a restriction, pain or any dysfunction in the hyoid may have a direct impact on the mobility of the forelimb, leading to a possibly shortened or stilted gait. “I thought we could give it a chance and see what happens.”. You would never suspect that they’d lost it, if you didn’t look. “If a cow loses her tongue, she starves to death, because she uses it to pull food into her mouth.”. The surface of the tongue may slough. Another important function of the horse’s tongue is to keep the teeth clean. The different roles of the mouth of the horse . Sores can also be caused by a variety of disease processes, including ingestion of toxins (from plants and other sources) that damage the lining cells. Shear Mouth: Shear mouth is related to a widening of the upper arcade of teeth making it much wider than the lower arcade. There was nothing noticeable until the tongue was black and protruding.”. READING THE TONGUE The nuances of reading the tongue are numerous. This condition is less common than parrot mouth. When the gums are infected, small pockets and crevices along the edges of the gums trap food, the pockets and crevices then become infected. This is a common practice to help immobilize a horse’s head while keeping the mouth open. Horse’s reaction: The pinching caused by loose hinges at the sides of the mouthpiece is similar to the pinching created between the chin strap and the mouthpiece in Problem #1. A COMPLETE REVERSAL! Holding the tongue to the side may be a good option for brief looks inside a horse’s mouth. Horse Bits 101: How Bits Work and Basic Bit Terminology. Instead, dental infection begins at the root of the tooth and is usually preceded by gum infection. Already know the basics? Dental Care. The upper incisors become elongated and grow like rabbit teeth. The skull. Then, saliva flushes the surfaces clean. Accidents happen, but you can take steps to reduce the risk. If a horse with an old tongue injury doesn’t respond well or is aggravated by his bit, you may need to try a different type or even switch to some form of a bitless bridle. Most of the horses I see with it have gone a long time without proper training or getting … If a foal injures his tongue, he won’t be able to nurse. Some horses are born with a congenital malocclusion between the upper and lower jaws causing incorrect bite problems. “I’ve seen some huge ulcers and holes in tongues caused by sharp, misplaced teeth,” says Connally. Be aware, though, that one common source of metal embedded in horses’ tongues may be the feeder itself---many people use old tractor tires as hay feeders, but if the steel belting is exposed, the horses can easily pick up bits of metal. In an even more unusual scenario, one horse might bite off the tongue of another. (During the sham treatment the horses’ tongues were manipula… However, some may indicate a serious medical condition. “We have some really good absorbable suture materials now that will last a month of more before they dissolve,” says Connally. Dentist checking a horse's teeth . Checking hay for foreign objects and clearing away debris on the farm, especially around feeders, is always a good idea. Louse eggs that detach from the horse's coat can hatch and re-introduce the infestation, so it is important to clean and sterilize any tack and equipment that was used on the affected horse. “A severe injury clear at the back could interfere with swallowing,” Connally says. The owner had not noticed the injury earlier, and it was too late to try to save the tongue. As in every other animal, the horse’s tongue is highly specialized for the job it does. Hi there. © 2020 by Cruz Bay Publishing, Inc., an Active Interest Media company. Some horses endure years of neglect, which the RSPCA has identified as being a significant welfare problem across all breeds and types of horses in Australia. Any sudden forceful pressure or severe jerk---for example, if a horse steps on his reins and pulls back---can lacerate the tongue. “The part of the tongue that we see is fairly flat, but there is a big lump at the back of the tongue that is used as an aid in swallowing,” says Connally. Whipping is likely to inflict pain and distress on horses, yet each year millions of Australians watch horses being repeatedly whipped during the Melbourne Cup and other horse racing events. Later that afternoon I found he had his tongue OVER the bit. Although many horses with healed tongues may behave normally, in some, bits can continue to irritate or cause pain in scarred and/or deformed tissue. The Anatomy of the Mouth. A tongue issue is another way of the horse telling us that something isn’t right or that they are in pain, but there are other signs well before hand that we can pick up on and the poster below is a great example. Please see link below: I think this might have happened if someone used a double-twisted wire snaffle on her, cutting the tongue with the bit. If you took the bit out he was fine. In this case, the swelling may increase simply due to exposure to the elements. A protruding tongue is also undesirable in many show horses, and although these devices are forbidden in most competitions---with a few exceptions, including saddle seat---some trainers use them while bringing along a young horse. These areas could be affected and no one would ever know. Obviously, any embedded foreign objects will be removed and dental issues addressed. If you’re unsure of how well your bit fits your horse, ask your veterinarian or a trainer you trust to assess it. Since then, Nelson has sutured a number of tongue injuries, with generally good results. The Horse Forum. “It was a bizarre injury, lacerating the tongue very deeply---all the way through,” Nelson says. Accidental biting is rare, but occasionally, a horse may catch  his tongue between his teeth with enough force to slice right through it. Harsh bits are a major source of damage, but a horse may also lacerate his tongue on sharp objects or bite it accidentally. When doing any mouth exam, make sure you have one finger hooked in the halter so that either you go with the horse if he pulls back, or you are quick enough to release your hold---to turn him loose and let him go. The ones that I’ve done have responded nicely to suturing. Most commonly, this occurs in the upper cheek teeth, but can occur anywhere in the horse's mouth. Join the discussion. These are the wounds that can cause a horse to lose weight if he cannot eat enough. What’s the root of the problem? “He literally never looked back; he never had any problems and continued eating, drinking and behaving normally.” Today, you’d never guess that he’d ever had an injury. It’s not uncommon for off-the-track Thoroughbreds to loll their tongues---often due to nerve damage that results in partial paralysis. The mouth of the horse is developed for effective intake, sorting and chewing of grass. For example, a red tongue with a yellow coating indicates the presence of heat in the body. Problems. Papillae---specialized protuberances on the surface of the tongue---help to guide food into position. Although many horses with healed tongues may behave normally, in some, bits can continue to irritate or cause pain in scarred and/or deformed tissue. Horses drool or slobber because they have eaten plants with fungi that makes them drool or after ingestion of an irritating substance. Bits are perhaps the most common source of tongue wounds in horses. The most common malocclusions include the following: Veterinarians often recommend that horses with malocclusions not be used for breeding because most malocclusions have an hereditary basis. While a tongue wound is healing, you may want to wet down your horse’s hay and feed to make it easier to manage in his mouth, or switch to hay cubes or a softer forage, but many do just fine without special treatment. Most racehorses have a limited amount of flatwork education and uneducated mouths. • Bit injuries. But every now and then someone continues to hang on as that horse is pulling back, and it’s not a good thing!”. The tongue presses the food up against the roof of the mouth where, aided by the ridges there, it is squeezed over onto the chewing surfaces, ground and passed across the tongue again in a spiral that gradually moves it toward the rear of the oral cavity. “By the time I was called to see it, the tongue was black and hanging out of the horse’s mouth. You want to use the gentlest bit possible to reduce the risk of injuring your horse. “Some horses may simply swallow the blood, and it doesn’t come out of the mouth.”, Even profuse bleeding may not be evident. I sedated the horse and took a look into his mouth. “This is much easier than trying to take them out later. Check your horse’s gums, tongue, lips, and palate for signs of irritation or lesions. Compendia articles, core healthcare topics and more are written and updated as a group effort. EquiMed® and Horse Health Matters® are registered trademarks of EquiMed, LLC. Wounds or sores in the corners of the mouth or on the tongue can be caused by a poorly fitting or functioning bit or from trauma from excessive force applied to the bit. Another stallion through the fence, and I ’ ve enjoyed putting them back,!, inflammation or injury severity of the upper and lower jaws causing bite... The many ways a horse ’ s mouth jaws causing incorrect bite problems until.... 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