Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Wolf Teeth Present

Code Yellow - Contact Your Vet at Your Convenience for an Appointment

Code Green - Contact Your Vet to Obtain Useful Advice & Resources

Code Yellow - Contact Your Vet at Your Convenience for an Appointment

  • If you feel that your horse may be resisting the bit.

Code Green - Contact Your Vet to Obtain Useful Advice & Resources

  • You are unlikely to bit the horse.

Wolf teeth are tiny peg shaped teeth that are present behind the corners of the mouth, just in front of the row of molar teeth (cheek teeth). Wolf teeth are considered to be vestigial (no longer functional) cheek teeth. They are much more commonly found in the upper jaw than the lower jaw.

About 50-70% of young horses have wolf teeth by the age of 12-18 months. They are not likely to erupt later. There is debate about whether wolf teeth cause discomfort with bitting. Therefore, there is debate about whether wolf teeth should be removed. Unless they are loose or otherwise malformed, they don’t usually cause a problem for horses that have a bit in their mouth.

“Blind” wolf teeth have not erupted through the gum and are considered more likely to cause pain or discomfort associated with the bit.

WHAT TO DO

If you notice that your horse has wolf teeth, talk to your vet about whether they should be removed. This depends your intended use of the horse, the size, position and shape of the wolf teeth, and whether you are noticing resistance to the bit.

WHAT YOUR VET DOES

Removal of wolf teeth is a simple and routine part of dentistry for many vets. We consider many factors when determining whether or not wolf teeth should be removed including their size, shape and position in the mouth. Damaged or loose wolf teeth are more likely to be removed to prevent irritation.

Your vet either simply removes the wolf teeth, or ignores them if the horse will not have a bit in its mouth.

I am more likely to encourage removal if they are already loose or I think they are irritating. I always remove wolf teeth in horses that are not performing well with a bit in their mouth. In doing this, I eliminate wolf teeth as a potential cause of this behavior.

I usually sedate horses for wolf tooth removal because extraction causes some transient pain. Since the horse is already sedated, I often recommend routine dentistry at the same time.

Helpful Terms & Topics in HSVGWritten, Reviewed or Shared by Experts in Equine Health

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

CONTACT US

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Sending