Grinding teeth - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 08-12-2009, 02:58 AM Thread Starter
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Grinding teeth

Hi all,
I just wanted to get your opinions/hear about your experiences with horses grinding their teeth.
One of my mares is somewhat nervous. She is easily excited and very attentive, however wonderfully curious and intelligent. It seems that recently (within the past year) she's developed a habit of grinding her teeth when she gets very excited or nervous.
One person told me that teeth grinding is a sure sign of ulcers (thus, when she is stressed (i.e excited or nervous) the ulcers flare up leading to pain and therefore her expressing this pain through grinding her teeth). Is this true? What else do you think it could mean?
I have not called a vet as I don't see it being necessary at the moment. It's not a daily or even weekly occurrence.

Rachel

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post #2 of 11 Old 08-12-2009, 01:41 PM
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I have a gelding that had been grinding his teeth and I was told the exact same thing you were told. I did not believe that he could possibly have an ulcer given his lifestyle, but I did ask my Vet about the teeth grinding and she suggested scoping him and sure enough - ULCERS - I was stunned! He had colic-type symptoms and was even treated for colic, but actually, I think it was ulcer related each time. My Vet treated my horse with UlcerGard initially and then put him on a daily dose (30 cc) of oral Nutri-Buffer. He is doing extremely well! Might want to check with your Vet - just in case - if your mare does have an ulcer problem, it's something you'll want to get under control quickly. Best of luck to your mare and to you!
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post #3 of 11 Old 08-12-2009, 01:47 PM Thread Starter
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Wow, that's interesting. Now I'm worried! How much did the treatment cost you?

Rachel

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post #4 of 11 Old 08-12-2009, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by dashygirl View Post
Hi all,
I just wanted to get your opinions/hear about your experiences with horses grinding their teeth.
One of my mares is somewhat nervous. She is easily excited and very attentive, however wonderfully curious and intelligent. It seems that recently (within the past year) she's developed a habit of grinding her teeth when she gets very excited or nervous.
One person told me that teeth grinding is a sure sign of ulcers (thus, when she is stressed (i.e excited or nervous) the ulcers flare up leading to pain and therefore her expressing this pain through grinding her teeth). Is this true? What else do you think it could mean?
I have not called a vet as I don't see it being necessary at the moment. It's not a daily or even weekly occurrence.
When I brought Andy my 6year old QH he would grind his teeth NONSTOP. And if you tried to a bit in his mouth he would go crazy, grinding his teeth and biting the bit. I had the vet come out and float his teeth, and it turned out they had NEVER been done before! He had horrible ulcers and I felt really guilty for trying to ride him with a bit when his mouth was in that much pain.

Since I got his teeth floated he does still occasionally grind his teeth but nothing like he used too.

I would defiantly look into getting his teeth floated, if it is ulcers then it will only get worse and you will have serious problems when you try to ride and it could eventually affect her ability to eat.

The loving mom to: Andy (QH), Mo (ArabXQH), G (AppXQH), Bug (Jack RusselX), Rocco (Cat), Dixie (Cat), and Bocephus (Cat)
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post #5 of 11 Old 08-12-2009, 03:29 PM
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The suggestions above are great. Do what you can to rule out physical discomfort.

Grinding of the teeth can be a displaced behavior horses do when they are nervous. If the horse can't move his feet, he will move something else, usually their mouth. It's the horse's emotions coming out and it's up to the rider to make the horse feel safe and secure so that he doesn't do the behavior anymore.
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post #6 of 11 Old 08-13-2009, 12:30 PM Thread Starter
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Her teeth are all up to date, no problems there.

She does grind only when she's nervous or excited, it's not like she does it when she's turned out or when I'm grooming her or something low-key.

An example of a teeth grinding situation could go like this: we're out on the trail and she sees something she's not too sure of, she'll stop, sniff it, give a few grinds and continue walking. Though sometimes the grinding will go on for several minutes after we've passed the scary object. I always do my best to talk to her, pet her, etc. when she is nervous about something. Usually it takes a minute of observing, a little sniff to make sure it's not going to turn into a scary monster and eat us both, and then we're off.

Rachel

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post #7 of 11 Old 08-13-2009, 01:07 PM
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my friend has a mare that grinds her teeth...she only does it when she gets PISSED. If she is misbehaving and she taps her with her crop, she grinds. A dog runs past her, she kicks and grinds. You go to push her body over, she grinds. Sometimes she will grind her teeth for no reason at all...i think she found a noise to make and she continues to do it...

He's just the horse to get us there
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post #8 of 11 Old 08-13-2009, 05:36 PM
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The above post is a perfect example of a horse who grinds their teeth when they are emotional. It's not something to be ignored. It's up to the person to make sure the horse never has to go there.
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post #9 of 11 Old 08-13-2009, 06:26 PM
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An old german judge gave me advice re grinding and after following it my horse was a quiet as a mouse.
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post #10 of 11 Old 08-14-2009, 11:12 AM Thread Starter
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Well thanks everyone, I think I'm going to have a vet come out and properly diagnose her. I'm glad I asked!

Rachel

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