Grinding her teeth? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 02-18-2010, 05:14 PM Thread Starter
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Question Grinding her teeth?

My 18-month-old filly has started to grind her teeth. At least, that's what I'm pretty sure she's doing. Her mouth is moving and this awful grinding sound is emanating from her. The sound makes me cringe, like most people cringe at the nails-on-a-chalkboard sound.

I had talked to my vet several months ago about when she would need to start getting her teeth floated and he told me about 5, and sometimes they have to do some work when they're around 2 for the caps? Is this accurate?

Does anyone know why would she be grinding her teeth? She eats fine, she doesn't drop food, she hasn't lost weight.

I've done all I can to keep her from getting bored. She has two pasture-mates, a traffic cone, a soccer ball, and a jolly ball in the field, as well as some old milk jugs tied up in the run-in and a rope tied the the ceiling of the run-in. She has access to a mineral block, two actually.

I kicked her out of her stall about a week ago, so she is out 24/7. That means she has lost access to her Lik-It because I don't want all three going at it or fighting for it, especially when one of the three isn't mine.

She's been on the same grain for almost a year, and her hay for a few months now. The horse that isn't mine got switched to a mixed hay a few weeks ago, and they all eat breakfast together, so in the morning she is getting access to one flake of alfalfa [that hasn't changed in months], one flake of Orchard [that also hasn't changed], and one flake of 80% Orchard, 20% Alfalfa that the third horse was transferred to a week or two ago.

I'm not sure what, if anything, that I listed is relevant, it's just all I can think of. Any ideas?

"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."
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post #2 of 8 Old 02-18-2010, 06:12 PM
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She's 18 m/o? She might be in the process of losing her baby teeth. When they get loose, they irritate the animal.

I've never heard of waiting until a horse is 5 y/o for their first float. It's recommended that they be floated at least once a year after the adult teeth come in, which is usually around 2 y/o.
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post #3 of 8 Old 02-19-2010, 05:03 AM Thread Starter
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That makes sense. Anyone else?? Bump?

"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."
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post #4 of 8 Old 02-19-2010, 05:12 PM
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Could be she needs her teeth done, she could also be emotional. Some horses grind there teeth out of nervousness. She could have ulcers. It is recommended young (0-5 years) and older horses (ages 15+) have there teeth done every 6 months because there teeth change so much :

Equine Dental Care: What Every Horse Owner Should Know - AAEP

An article on ulcers as well:

Gastric Ulcers in Horses: Causes, Signs, and Treatment

Last edited by paint gurl 23; 02-19-2010 at 05:16 PM.
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post #5 of 8 Old 02-19-2010, 08:19 PM
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Firstly, agree with others that your horse at least needs her teeth checked by a *good* equine dentist. Your vet is mistaken & the general consensus of people knowledgeable in the subject is as Paint Gurl has said.

As with people, she may be grinding her teeth out of stress or pain. If her pasture mates or setup have changed recently, or her training is stressful, they can be causes of tooth-grinding anxiety. Pain could potentially be anywhere, but if she's recently been 'kicked out of' a stall situation, perhaps the feeding regime was a cause of ulcers. Also if she is being fed grain, this is a common cause of gut upsets & pain, among other potential probs, depending on how/what/when you feed. I advise avoiding grain, high starch or sugary feeds where possible.
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post #6 of 8 Old 02-19-2010, 10:21 PM
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I agree, get a DENTIST to look at her. Not the vet. Having their teeth done every 6 months is NOT a good idea, that's over-floating. I use a dentist certified by this guy- and no one else will touch my horse's mouth!
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post #7 of 8 Old 02-20-2010, 12:10 AM Thread Starter
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Hmm. First off, she's not in pain, and she's not stressed, nervous, or otherwise "emotionally" upset. I also doubt it could be her diet as she's been on virtually the same grain for almost a year, and the "symptom" didn't start with the transition to a new hay or anything. It just started. I also don't have access to a dentist. I have a vet, a great vet actually.

I'm also doubtful about ulcers, because the only change in anything she's done is this teeth grinding thing. Unless it's the Lik-It? She only had it for maybe about a month, but she did really like it. It was mint and carrot and she went through most of it. She only had access to it at night, and now that she's back outside at night, she doesn't need it. Could it be too much of the sugar?

"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."
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post #8 of 8 Old 02-20-2010, 12:14 AM
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I agree that she needs her teeth looked at by the time she is two. And I think that having her seen every 6 months is not excessive, but floating at every check probably would be. Horses mouths are changing so much until they are around 5 and if there is something that needs to be taken care of, waiting a full year or until she is showing signs of pain will be too late to fix and could cause life long problems. And also totally agree on finding a very qualified equine dentist who is a DVM. There are some good ones here in washington.

Also, grinding teeth (or bruxism) is a sign of gastric ulcers. Ulcers are not necessarily due to boredom or over training, so it would be a good idea to have her checked if her teeth are good. It sounds like she has no reason to be bored as I know you work with her plenty and her living situation sounds great.
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