As if horses weren’t prone to enough injuries and health issues, a new dental disease surfaced in 2004. It’s literally a mouthful: equine odontoclastic tooth resorption and hypercementosis (EOTRH). And because it’s so recently identified, Ann Pearson, MS, DVM, and her colleagues at Reata Equine Veterinary Group, in Tucson, Ariz., conducted a study to identify risk factors and create more awareness among veterinarians. She presented her results at the 2013 American Association of Equine Practitioners convention, held Dec. 7-11 in Nashville, Tenn.

EOTRH is a very painful disease primarily affecting horses’ incisors and canine teeth, Pearson explained. "In our experience, the teeth appear bulbous, irregular, and discolored," she said. "Gingival receding is often seen along with shifting of incisor positioning."

In previous reports, veterinarians have noted that the disease tends to appear in horses older than 15 and more commonly in Thoroughbreds and Warmbloods than in other breeds.

Treatment for EOTRH includes removing the affected teeth, a potentially painful procedure for the horse and a difficult one for the veterinarian that requires continuous follow-up evaluations to ensure the mouth remains balanced, Pearson said.

EOTRH primarily affects horses’ incisors and canine teeth.

Photo: Courtesy Dr. Ann Pearson

In their study, Pearson and her colleag