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sarah wood 08-10-2010 08:00 PM

Parrot Mouth / Overbite - Request for photos and stories
I've got a 2 month old filly with a severe parrot mouth. She's otherwise perfect and has no problems suckling or keeping on weight. Does anyone else have any stories about horses they've had with this condition? I'd also love to see any photos you have, especially ones showing a foal with parrot mouth, and that same horse's mouth as an adult. I've been reading a lot on the internet, but I think it's always better to hear from people who have actually gone through it!

Here is a photo of my little one:

MyBoyPuck 08-10-2010 08:19 PM

Wow, that's pretty severe. My horse is parrot mouthed, but not nearly that bad. It might just be the way you're holding her, but it looks like her top teeth don't touch her bottom teeth at all. If that's the case, she's going to have very hard time chewing food. Your best off feeding her things in very small pieces and soaking it to minimize the chances of a choke.

As for what can be done, your best hope is if the reason for her overbite is related to some uneven growth elsewhere in her mouth. Sometimes the back teeth develop hooks or grow unevenly in height and create an effect where the bottom jaw cannot move freely back to front. This keeps the bottom jaw from coming forward enough to meet up with the top. Once the teeth are filed down by a good dentist, the jaw can move more freely.

I wish I had pics of Puck's mouth to show you. When we first started working on him as a 4 year old, (apparently race horses never get their teeth looked at since he was a mess), his top and bottom teeth didn't meet up either. After a lot of work, they overlap enough to where he can eat reasonably enough, although he's a very slow eater and usually drops more than he chews.

At least she's a baby. I'm sure more can be done with her than with an older horse. My best advice is to find a dentist who is very experienced in problem teeth. Good luck.

sarah wood 08-10-2010 09:27 PM

They don't touch. I'm desperately hoping that to some extent the problem will right itself as she grows, at least to the point where she is able to eat! A search for Parrot Mouth online brings in a lot of equine dental sites wanting you to wire their jaw and all these things, but in blogs and forums that procedure has gotten mixed reviews, plus I can't imagine it being a good idea to put a young foal under over and over again to work on her braces, and talk about having a hard time eating, I remember having braces!!
I've read about the hooks too, and since day one (after realizing her problem) I've known she'd be having regular filing/dental work/dental exams. It's just sickening, to have the joy of a perfect blue roan filly and the disappointment of such a severe dental problem!
Thanks for your post!

reining girl 08-10-2010 09:40 PM

at the horse ranch i work at, one of the boarders horses has a really bad parrot mouth just like hers, his bottom teeth touch the roof of his mouth. Pretty much, his top teeth do nothing. We have a professional equine dentist come every year and basically she said "he is prefectly fine as long as he keeps up his weight and you see no problems" and he is fine, he has no problems eating hay and his grain. The only thing he could have a problem with is eating pasture grass as it would be hard for him to get any, but when a horse wants something they can definantly find a way. He just needs to be kept up on his dentistry since his front teeth dont get worn down at all, the dentist has to "wear" them down for him. He can carry a bit in his mouth just fine. I dont know if there is anything you can do, but i know that this horse is perfectly fine and happy the way he is. Im sure your girl will be fine just keep her up to date with her dentistry.

sarah wood 08-10-2010 11:40 PM

That's a good story to hear! I heard somewhere else about the top teeth not getting worn down properly and growing too long - and then I saw this awful vision of a cartoon nag in my head, with great big buck teeth that hang down and eyes going different directions!

I've heard several theories of what causes parrot mouth. I've heard the parents must be carriers, that a sire and dam with wildly different headshapes produce them, and that it's a congenital defect. What do you all lean towards believing?

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