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Spirit Lifter 08-07-2012 09:52 AM

My mare has CANINE teeth!
I'll try and get a picture today but I just discovered that my 8 year old mare has canine teeth coming in. They look like dog teeth, hence the name. Only 28% of mares get them and those mare are described as dominant. My mare is not dominant. I've read that you can leave them in or take them out. I discovered them when she was trying to shake the bridle off/bit out. Is that because these canine teeth are just erupting and make the bit painful? I don't want to have her to go thru the removal process if eventually the gums surrounding these teeth will settle down.

Anyone have any experience or first hand knowledge of canine teeth?:?

This removal looks extensive!

waresbear 08-07-2012 10:02 AM

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I could be wrong here so I will just relate my experiences with dental care when I owned mares awhile back. Usually only male horses get wolf teeth, those are removed, usually during gelding while the horse is under. All horses get canines but during a float, the vet nips them flat, that I have seen done on my mares, never on my geldings, same vet. Between floatings on the mares, these teeth must grow back because the vet nipped them again.
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Spirit Lifter 08-07-2012 10:26 AM

I like the sound of a nip better than an extraction. But wouldn't that make the tooth rot or become painful at the root? I don't think on a human you could nip a tooth without problems. I have no idea, just asking.

riccil0ve 08-07-2012 10:34 AM

How interesting!

I have never known a horse that needed a tooth nipped, I'm not sure it is as common as wares suggest. Also, any horse can get wolf teeth, it depends on the individual animal. Mares are just as likely as geldings/studs.

Why not make a call to a vet and discuss your options? Are you even sure these are canine teeth and not wolf teeth?
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waresbear 08-07-2012 10:35 AM

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Horses' teeth are different, our teeth don't grow the dentine like theirs do. So I would think the tooth is nipped off to just above the dentine but above the core. Imagine how painful our teeth would be if the tops were filed? Owies!!!
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Cherie 08-07-2012 01:48 PM

Canine and wolf teeth are two completely different kinds of teeth. Canine teeth are rather large teeth located about half way between the last incisor (that comes in permanently at age 5) and the first molar (rear chewing teeth). A bit lays in front of the molars and right behind the canines.

About 10% to 20% of mares have canines while almost all male horses have them. They are larger in male horses. Some mares have 2 or them (usually on the lower jaw) and a few have all four of them.

Wolf teeth are much smaller and are located just in front of the first molars. Fewer mares also have wolf teeth and they are also smaller in mares. Some have 2 (usually upper) and some have all four.

Since wolf teeth are right in front of the molars, they interfere much more often with a bit than canines do, particularly a 2 piece snaffle. As a matter of fact, I have never had a horse that needed canines removed. Removing wolf teeth is minor and is very commonly done as a routine part of getting a horse ready to ride. Canine tooth removal is major oral surgery.

If I had a horse that the bit bothered the canines, I would probably opt for a bitless bridle, side-pull or a bosal

clippityclop 08-07-2012 02:36 PM

Check out this technical paper on canines in horses (nice gross pictures to see, too!)

I have yet to meet a horse whose canines caused bitting problems (unless the mouth had other issues - growth, surgery, injury, etc). Most issues with the bit hitting the teeth can be resolved by using another bit (especially if you have a shallow mouthed horse) or maybe the bit is being allowed to hang too low in the mouth.

I tried one of those Myler bits (the kind with a curved mullen mouth and a rawhide nose piece - one of those $120 ones) and no matter what I did, I couldn't get it to horse's anatomy just didn't accomodate it...

I bet your poor baby isn't very happy right now! Maybe switch to a reinsman little S hack or something for a month or two? Or a ring snaffle that you can fit up higher?

NO FUN...I remember cutting wisdom teeth myself around my 20th bday.........

Spirit Lifter 08-07-2012 04:25 PM

They are indeed canines on her lower jaw. My farrier said they would eventually fall out on their own in about two years. My bridle is at the Amish getting some silver put on it so I had a borrowed bit that indeed hung lower than she is used to. I'll try raising the bit, then going to a different bit, then going without one. It's kind of interesting to learn about this whole canine teeth thing.

MN Tigerstripes 08-07-2012 04:31 PM

If your farrier is saying they will fall out in two years he is either wrong or they are not canine teeth. Canine teeth do not just fall out. Wolf teeth will fall out on occasion, but not canine teeth.

minstrel 08-07-2012 04:51 PM


Originally Posted by waresbear (Post 1634184)
Horses' teeth are different, our teeth don't grow the dentine like theirs do. So I would think the tooth is nipped off to just above the dentine but above the core. Imagine how painful our teeth would be if the tops were filed? Owies!!!
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That's because the roots of horses' teeth go way deeper than ours, so you don't see the sensitive part of the tooth as it is so deep in their jaw. There's a whole cavity in the upper jaw that if full of the roots of the teeth when the horse is young, and they descend into the mouth as they wear, leaving the cavity behind.

The yellow bit in the centre of the teeth of older horses, the dental star, is where the nerve would have been while they were younger, but this gets filled with secondary dentine as they grow into the mouth. Hence where the term 'long in the tooth' comes from ;)

Also, all horses have canine teeth - just in many mares they never actually erupt (the 28% thing isn't strictly true, by the way, it's nearer 35%-40%. More than you would think). Wolf teeth are the real anomaly, and the ones that would be removed if they are in the way.

Teeth are so fun... and horse teeth, like the rest of the digestive system, are weirdly similar to rabbits rather than any other large herbivore. It's pretty cool.

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