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Apr 20, 2005
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Southwest Oklahoma
I mentioned this in the runny eye thread, but I want to start a new topic.
My new horse saw the dentist in November. She said he is 5, and beginning to have canines erupt. Several weeks ago he began to have chewed grass lodged one both sides of his mouth and in upper and lower lips, in front of the teeth. His front teeth were packed with chewed green icky grass. Every day I clean out the quids, his lips, and brush the gunk off his teeth. (I was afraid that tooth gunk would cause plaque buildup.) Dentist said the quid has nothing to do with erupting teeth. She said half of the horses she sees in the winter are holding chewed hay like that. The gunk on their teeth is like clay. She thinks these horses are not drinking enough water and suggested I add electrolytes. I top dress his feed with salt and his water is heated. I am thinking that the wet grass in the pasture satisfies his thirst, so he doesn't drink as much. We have had a lot of rain lately and there is plenty of green winter grass in sheltered areas of the pasture. He does not eat hay (unless the weather is so inclement that he decides to stay under the shelter where I keep a hay bag.)
Since this horse is new to me, I have no idea of his history through various seasons.
Does anyone else's horse do this in the winter?
I know nothing of this, but I wanted to say I’m impressed with the tooth care you are giving this horse. I didn’t even think such mouth care was necessary. I’ve heard of floating teeth, but nothing like this.
I had a dear mini with neurological issues that had problems chewing and swallowing. He needed his mouth cleared several times a day. I'd be able to reach into the side of his mouth and pull the goop out and I also used a large syringe to rinse his mouth. He could also get quidded bits out himself, as he'd been dealing with it for years.

You may wish to consult a veterinarian on this to rule out any physical issues that might be causing the quidding.

My little mule had some issues with hay stuck when he lost his lower incisor caps, but normally this is when the animal is about two, not five.
I have been thinking of taking him to the vet about this. But overall he is fine and feisty, so I haven't been too concerned about a health issue. He is certainly not having an issue with chewing and swallowing, if weight is a good indication! If it is due to not drinking enough, I think I will try the electrolytes and see if that changes anything. Cleaning him every day is a good way to get him used to being handled a lot.
Marsha, do you have a picture of his mouth with the quids and gunk in it? I really have no input, but it IS interesting. I did have an older pony with missing teeth that would "gunk up" but since Nugget is so young, that theory wouldn't apply.
I had a mare that had this kind of issue. In her case it was unfortunately caused by the structure of her mouth. I hope yours is just a result of a growth phase.
We had one horse that we had to steam his hay in the winter. Soaking it was too difficult with below freezing temps but the stream box we built rehydrated the hay and then kept it from turning into an ice block while he ate it. We also soaked hay pellets in warm water before we built the steamer. He had ulcers and wouldn't drink the ice cold river water and would colic. So different problem originally but the answer was more water intake.
I put a small package of childs orange flavor electrolytes in Coral's water every two days to encourage her to drink more. 1 packet to 5 gallon bucket isn't much but she seems to like the taste. I don't want to overdo it. She is the only one who had colic.
Okay. Got some help taking pictures today. I also wanted to show the canine teeth, which shows that he is 5 years old. Mares do not always get these. They perform absolutely no function--maybe stallions fighting in the wild have some use, not sure. But they don't bother anything either. You can see the wads of grass lodged up in the top of his mouth. He didn't have much in the lower lip this time. I cleaned it and it will be built back up by tonight. Actually, his front teeth look better than when the dentist was here; he is either growing into them better or whatever the dentist did helped.
teeth1.jpg teeth2.jpg teeth3.jpg
Yes, it's pretty icky! He is used to me rummaging in his mouth now. He just doesn't care for the toothbrush, but that's the only way I can get that packed stuff off his teeth. I bought a firm toothbrush; the soft one I tried didn't work very well.
Hope to get some electrolytes tomorrow. I will get the tube kind, like a wormer paste, as he uses the large, heated tank for water.
I have a couple of quite elderly horses with missing teeth and they flush out food stuck in their mouths in their water buckets on their own, kind of siphoning in and out. (!!) Of course it means changing the water completely every day which is why I use buckets instead of a trough. Did not teach them that, another one whose mouth sometimes looks like yours with the food stuck and have to clean it myself often, but have seen her rubbing the side of her face on the fence I think to move the mass.
They do get used to almost anything, don't they?

That's a lot of grass and gunk stuck in there.
I have two older horses one is a Quarter Horse they both are about 30ish, they are constantly spitting them out but they are also missing teeth too, my gelding has always rinsed his mouth out in his water I keep a dollar store food strainer with a handle on to clean out the buckets.
I finally got to town and bought electrolyte. I think for his weight I decided on 1 cc, or one roll down on the syringe. Gave the second dose today. If it is going to work, I'm not sure how long before it does. Wads were less today but still buildup on his top front teeth.
Since I had to take DD to the vet for his eye, I loaded up Nugget also He found a ramp at the very back and worked a little more on the front teeth. His idea about the quid is the green winter grass is so fine and soft it can sometimes collect. But he really didn't see why it was happening.
Nugget has a slight parrot mouth, which tends to cause a ramp at the back of the mouth. But he said floating once a year is enough to keep it maintained.
Even though this vet is far away, I will probably go back. He loves horses and is building an equine hospital.
He said both of my horses are too fat. I will put them in the dry corral for a few hours a day.

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