EOTRH, Equine Odontoclastic Tooth Resorption, and Hypercementosis, is a syndrome where a tooth’s roots dissolve. Most of the changes take place in the roots making it difficult to visualize. We confirm a diagnosis with radiographs as resorption is visible. The arrows on these Xrays point to where the tooth has remodeled and then absorbed into the bloodstream.
Cementum also forms on the teeth near the gums and may be confused as tarter. Dr. Ellis explains, “The tell-tale behavior difference between EOTRH and tarter is a horse with EOTRH will no longer take carrots or apples.” The condition is painful, making it uncomfortable to bite down.
Extracting the affected teeth is the only way to resolve the discomfort. Both the top and the bottom incisors can be involved. How your veterinarian proceeds depends on the stage of the disease, and the number of teeth included.
Advanced EOTRH, when all incisors are dissolving, ordinarily takes more than one dental visit to resolve. After extracting the first row or set of teeth, the mouth will be allowed to heal for four weeks before removing the remainder.
How does this affect a horse’s ability to eat? The incisors aren’t grinders they assist in ripping. A horse quickly adapts, using its lips for tearing through the grass or pulling hay. In most cases, a horse’s attitude and appetite will improve after affected teeth are removed.
The disease progresses slowly over many years. Noticing changes in behavior and eating habits can be difficult. Watch for unexplained weight loss, refusal to bite into apples or carrots, overall grumpy demeanor, or no longer accepting of a bit.
The condition is seen in the senior horse (15+), while Warmbloods, Thoroughbreds, and Arabians breeds are more predisposed to develop the syndrome. Although we recommend horses of all ages receive a full dental exam yearly to identify oral problems, it is a vital part of senior WellCare. Dental deformities and disease are found in upwards of 90% of seniors.