Monkey mouth

I'm looking at a new horse with a monkey mouth. What problems am I looking at and he is over 20. Very skinny. Guy just got him at a sale.I'm looking at a new horse with a monkey mouth. What problems am I looking at and he is over 20. Very skinny. Guy just got him at a sale.

Story originally posted by: Michael Lowder, DVM, MS

Doctor Lowder,

I’m looking at a new horse with a monkey mouth. What problems am I looking at and he is over 20. Very skinny. Guy just got him at a sale.

The under bite is not really bad about 1 to 1/2 inches. Not having much luck finding out information on this problem.

Thanks,
Dave

Dear Dave,

Monkey mouth, also called mandibular prognathism, is an uncommon dental abnormality in horses. Correction of the under bite can be attempted in young animals (2-6 months of age) if the space between the upper and lower teeth is less than 3 cm. If the space is greater than that, it is unlikely that it can be corrected.

Correction of the under bite consists of surgical placement of wires around the teeth similar to human braces. In the uncorrected horse, the upper teeth will need to be floated more often since they do not touch the lower teeth. Since the horse is over 20 years old, he is too old for surgery to be effective. He should not have too many dental problems as long as you have his teeth floated often, at least every 4-6 months. Under bites and overbites are thought it be inherited in horses so I would advise against breeding him if he is a stallion.

Thanks,
Dr. Lowder