In recent years, more and more horses are falling ill with EOTRH – primarily older horses from approx. 15 years. Robust breeds such as z.B.B. Icelandic or Haflinger horses affected.
At the beginning the symptoms are inconspicuous:
– Problems biting off hard bread or carrots – Reluctance to drink cold water – Sensitivity to touching the mouth – Increased tartar formation
In other words, things that can also be seen with poor dental hygiene or general dental problems.
The disease is not yet externally recognizable, but below the gums it progresses rapidly: Inflammatory processes lead to chronic dissolution of the roots of incisors, canines and stallions; molars are less frequently affected. Activated odontoclasts – the body's own cells from the osteoclast group – appear in significantly increased numbers on the tooth surface. They break down dentin at the roots of the teeth. Provide so for the degradation of the teeth (Odontoclastic Tooth Resorption).
Initial abnormalities may include:
– increased salivation – food between the teeth – bad breath
Eventually, the gums show:
– Decline – swelling and redness – small red dots, fistulas and abscesses
In general, the body attempts to repair the damaged teeth by depositing dental cement around the roots (hypercementosis), which is clearly visible visually:
– tumor-like growths on the necks of the teeth – loosening of the deformed teeth
As the disease progresses, massive remodeling processes can occur in the jaw, and even the jaw bone can be permanently damaged. The progression of the extremely painful disease occurs within a few weeks and months. Reduced food intake occurs. Resulting in emaciation of the horse. The prolonged inflammation and debilitating pain lead to increased production of the stress hormone cortisol, which inhibits inflammation, reduces the sensation of pain, dampens the immune response and shuts down the metabolism.
Because elevated cortisol levels affect the entire body, not just the affected teeth, Cushing-like symptoms are common:
– Fatigue and performance depression – Recurrent nutrient deficiencies – Increased susceptibility to infections/ immune system disorders – Hoof abscesses, laminitis – Muscle wasting and emaciation – Problems with metabolism/ detoxification/ susceptibility to abscesses – Metabolic derailments with symptoms similar to cruciate lung disease
"The multi-layered and deeply interfering with the whole organism complaints represent a consuming and painful suffering."
Causes for EOTRH
The cause of the equine disease EOTRH is still unknown; however, it is amed that the disease is triggered by a combination of several factors. Initially, a higher mechanical load was suspected. insufficient control of teeth in old age. However, this has not been confirmed. On the other hand, poor blood circulation around the tooth roots, which can lead to the death of cells, is not completely ruled out. In addition to a possible genetic disposition, a bacterial infection of the oral cavity is considered to be one of the most likely factors that can lead to an outbreak of the disease.
If one considers the high inflammatory nature of the disease, coupled with the destruction of the body's own tie, one cannot ignore the clear indication of an autoimmune disease. Because the cause of these increasingly common diseases is also as yet unexplained and is believed to be an interaction between genetic predisposition and external influences. It is noticeable that the majority of affected horses obviously suffer from diseases of prosperity, metabolic disorders and/or a disturbed immune system.
In addition to the similarity of symptoms to those of ECD, there is a disease in humans with similar symptoms. It is referred to as MIRR (Multiple Idiopathic Root Resorption). The comparable FORL (Feline Odontoclastic Resorption Lesion) is also very common in cats: In the meantime, half of all cats over the age of five suffer from this disease, the cause of which is also still unclear.
Diagnosis of EOTRH
EOTRH is clearly recognizable in horses by the formation of teeth and the simultaneous occurrence of receding and inflamed gums. In general, the full extent of the disease is best visualized radiographically, as the degenerative changes in the roots of the teeth and the jawbone below the gums are clearly demonstrated. Furthermore, there are cases without cementum formation; this variant can only be diagnosed by x-ray findings and even then it is not necessarily conclusive. Whether ECD (Equine Cushing Disease) is present in addition to EOTRH can only be detected by blood test; it is not possible to draw conclusions about the present disease solely on the basis of the symptoms.
Treating and preventing EOTRH in horses
EOTRH is currently considered incurable. Since the cause of the disease is not known, the treatment is difficult. So far, it has only been possible to alleviate the symptoms and slow down the disease, rarely to stop it; the degeneration of the teeth is irreversible.
Antibiotics against the predominant bacteria were used without lasting success; cortisone injections into the mucous membrane of the mouth against the inflammations and Tildren infusions for the calcium metabolism also remained ineffective in the long term.
In the early stages, the tartar is removed and the affected incisors are significantly shortened in order to keep the prere load as low as possible. In the advanced stage of the disease, unfortunately, only the extraction of the affected teeth helps. For this purpose, it is recommended to visit a qualified equine clinic. In the meantime, most teeth can be removed under sedation on an outpatient basis, which means less stress for the horses and significantly reduces the risk compared to surgery under anesthesia. After tooth extraction, the gaps between the teeth must be cleaned and rinsed regularly until they are completely healed, as food residues accumulate in them.
After the procedure, the chronic inflammation and pain disappear, so that an improvement in health, quality of life and vitality can be observed quickly. In most cases, sooner or later the extraction of all affected teeth is necessary, but this leads to a permanent abatement of the symptoms of inflammation. Unanimously, affected horse owners report that the horses eat again quickly after the operation, even pluck grass, and manage very well without incisors, so that the eating behavior returns to normal.
– So far, the best experience has been with a special Vital mushroom mixture made, which – if the mushrooms work in the individual case – drastically slows down the spread of EOTRH and stabilizes the affected horses. It is rich in natural vitamin D2, has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Administered twice a year as a course of treatment, the mixture achieves very good results. However, horses that show problems with digestion due to massive metabolic disorders are reluctant to ingest it. Promote the formation of dopamine. Thus dampen the formation of cortisol. – The use of Leech, applied directly to the mucous membrane of the mouth, achieves good results – whether sustainable, has not yet been documented. It should be noted that the horse should be sedated, as the leeches must be placed inside the mouth. – To promote blood circulation to the gums, stimulate their regeneration and protect the gums from inflammation, regular Grooming of gums, teeth and interdental space. This brings significant relief to the animal even in highly inflammatory stages, but ames a certain insensitivity to pain on the part of the animal. – Furthermore, the affected areas can be treated with Chlorhexiditin rinse or dab with a disinfecting solution. However, many horses find this too sharp. – It is Caution with immunostrengthening agents necessary, as these can amplify excessive autoimmune reactions.
Preventing EOTRH in horses
In order to minimize the damage to the organism, early detection is important. Every horse should have regular dental checkups with an equine dental specialist – ideally once or twice a year. Here you should make sure that control and processing of incisors and gums are as frequent as possible.
Present your horse regularly to a veterinarian or veterinary practitioner.
EOTRH is probably one of the diseases of affluence, the origin of which is often seen in feeding that is too nutritious and inadequate utilization. Therefore, you should always pay attention to feeding and exercise appropriate to the species and needs.
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Reduce pain: The expert tip from practice
Unfortunately, there have been veterinarians who have expressed the opinion that horses do not have such extreme toothache as humans, or who advise against the extraction of the lower incisors, because otherwise the tongue would hang out. However, this is very humanly thought of and causes the animal unnecessary chronic pain that can easily be avoided. Therefore, a specialist in equine disease EOTRH should always be consulted.