October: Seeing Double

October Case of the Month: Seeing Double

On a routine dental float of a young 4-year-old draft mare, Dr Danica saw something very unusual in her mouth… Berry had too many front teeth! Horses typically have 12 incisor teeth – 3 left and 3 right maxillary, and 3 left and 3 right mandibular teeth. At the age of 4, horses will typically have 8 adult incisors (1st and 2nd sets) and 4 deciduous (baby) teeth (3rd set), which they shed at 4.5 years old. Now it’s not unusual for there to appear like there are too many teeth: when an adult tooth erupts but does not cause the associated overlying baby tooth to loosen and shed. But in Berry’s case, she had 5 adult maxillary incisor teeth. Interestingly one of the adult incisors was crooked. On radiograph, we confirmed that she has a second, full sized 2nd left maxillary incisor that is rotated 90 degrees. Consultation with a veterinary dental specialist will be required to determine how best to manage this supernumerary tooth.

Xray image of horse front teeth showing the secondary tooth outlined.