Jutted Jaw in a Foal

Q: Our foal was born with something that our veterinarian called a "jutted jaw." Can you provide any information on this condition and what, if anything, needs to be done about it?

Jody


A: If by "jutted jaw" you are referring to a mandible (lower jaw) that is longer than the maxilla (top), it is uncommon. The term I have heard more frequently is "sow mouth." The cause is unknown. Regarding the horses' health, the occlusion (bite alignment) of the cheek teeth is most important, and they might or might not be affected. If there is no real problem there, most of these horses can eat just fine. If they are malaligned, you will get hooks where the teeth are not wearing. That will need veterinary dental attention on a regular basis a couple of times a year. "Braces" might be suggested to slow the growth of the mandible relative to the maxilla, but I would consider those only if the disparity was great.

About the Author

Elizabeth Santschi, DVM, Dipl. ACVS

Elizabeth M Santschi, DVM, Dipl. ACVS, is a Clinical Assistant Professor in Large Animal Surgery at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

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