Mouth Injuries in Horses

Mouth injuries can happen in any horse, whether during elite competition or in our own stables and pastures.
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Horses can injure their lips, cheeks, teeth, and tongues in all sorts of ways; here’s what to look for in these scenarios.

If you watched Dutch dressage rider Adelinde Cornelissen’s performance with her mount Jerich Parzival at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, you know the pair were disqualified after the horse bit the tip of his tongue.

While the injury was minor, even a small amount of blood can turn a horse’s foamy saliva an alarming shade of red.

Perhaps you’ve gone out to pasture to catch your horse and discovered blood oozing from his mouth. You can’t see where the blood is coming from, so you call your veterinarian for a more extensive examination. He might have sustained a mouth or tongue injury such as a puncture from a foreign object, an accident with a bit, or he could have an object jammed between the teeth.

Mouth injuries can happen in any horse, whether in elite competition or in our own stables and pastures. We’ll discuss these types of injuries in detail here

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Written by:

Heather Smith Thomas ranches with her husband near Salmon, Idaho, raising cattle and a few horses. She has a B.A. in English and history from University of Puget Sound (1966). She has raised and trained horses for 50 years, and has been writing freelance articles and books nearly that long, publishing 20 books and more than 9,000 articles for horse and livestock publications. Some of her books include Understanding Equine Hoof Care, The Horse Conformation Handbook, Care and Management of Horses, Storey’s Guide to Raising Horses and Storey’s Guide to Training Horses. Besides having her own blog,, she writes a biweekly blog at that comes out on Tuesdays.

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