Parrot Mouth In Horses

Posted in: Horse Care

I recently experienced my first true exposure to a parrot mouthed horse. I’d heard the term before, and knew what the general meaning was, but I’d never really explored further.  My family has always raised Quarter Horses and it was never an issue that came up.

We raised a well bred yearling colt by an outside stallion. He was always big and beautiful. Everyone picked him out as the “looker” of the group.   I weaned him, halter broke him, taught him to load in the trailer, etc. He seemed perfectly normal to me.  All of our horses are turned out on pasture while there is grass, and they eat on a round bale in the winter. He never looked as if he lacked in nutrients, so I never felt a need to pay attention to the way he ate or look inside his mouth.

Big healthy colt in the Fall of his yearling year.

Big healthy colt in the Fall of his yearling year.

I sold this colt to a very happy and excited buyer.  When she took him in to be castrated and have his wolf teeth pulled, she was heart broken to hear the bad news. Her vet indicated that this horse may never take a bit, therefore, limiting her training methods. Of coarse I felt terrible, and quite stupid for not knowing that he had this condition.  So on with my research I went, and like most cases I found several different opinions.

My buyer’s vet says it’s very severe, that he’ll need extensive work, and that he has an unpredictable future. He also stated that he sees this condition in any breed across the board, and that it is not genetic.  My vet says it’s not severe, it’s yearly maintenance, just like you would and should normally do with all your horses. Also, that the front teeth have no baring on the bit placement (due to where your dentist puts the bit seat) in the mouth.  My vet also indicated that this condition is most common among Thoroughbreds (which he had plenty in his make up) and that it is genetic.  Wow! Talk about two completely different schools of thought!

Parrot Mouth at age 1.

Parrot Mouth at age 1.

In the end, I placed this fine colt in some talented and loving hands based on THEIR vets opinion and their own research. They maintain his teeth, and he has had no trouble taking a bridle, nor does he have trouble eating. The only new twist from their vet was; had we known of his condition as a baby, we may have been able to fix it.

So, do I know more than when I started? I know a lot of different opinions. You can bet I take a good look in everyone’s mouth now. What will I do should it appear again? I’m hoping I never have to answer that.  I’m thinking that there are lot’s of opinions on this out there.  I’d love to hear yours if you have experience with a parrot mouthed horse.


 

Posted in: Horse Care


About Jessie Salter

Horses have been a part of my life since I can remember. Riding with my Dad as a youngster was what I lived for. There was nothing better than working cows, or racing my dad across an alfalfa field. It seems I never grew out...

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