My instructor has a horse in her barn that seemed to be having dental problems, so she had his teeth floated. But he still was making faces, picking at his food - she didn't know what was wrong, but she knew he just wasn't quite right. During a clinic being held at her barn, she mentioned it to the ladies doing the clinic. They instantly thought of the hyoid bone (which seems to be located at the top of the sternum in between the jaw bones, from what I can read about it.) One of the ladies said that his was almost "stuck" on the right side of his jaw when it should be in the middle, and manipulated it back to the proper spot. He seems to be doing fine now. Willie sort of does the same thing - acts like he is trying to get food from being stuck at the back of his teeth, makes faces, looks like he is trying to "crack" his jaw - almost like a person with TMJ. ( Only thing it doesn't seem to keep him from doing is eating ). I have had his teeth floated, but that does not seem to help. We have been so busy with his other problems that we have kind of ignored this, since it really doesn't seem to cause any harm. But I am wondering if any of you know anything about this? I am going to have my vet check it out when she comes back next time for radiographs, but that isn't for about 6 weeks,and I really don't want her to make a special trip for this
The sternum is the breastbone, and the cranial extent of that, the manubrium, is located on the midline in the pectoral area.
The hyoid bones articulate with the skull, and help to "suspend" the larynx and provide an anchor for the tongue.
There are muscular connections between hyoid bones and sternum, but, geographically speaking, they are fairly distant from one another.
I'd be very leery of letting someone try to "unstick" a portion of the hyoid, unless they had a thorough acquaintance with the anatomy and the function.
My guess is the structure in question is the lingual process of the basihyoid bone. Not a structure for amateurs to be messing with.
Someone with a good background in equine dentistry or a well-trained equine muscle therapist, maybe. Even then, there's potential for causing harm.
"It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay
YIKES! I wasn't trying to sound like I knew what I was dealing with- just had read a few snips of info that I could find, so as to give a clue where this bone was even located, as I had never heard of it before. Your info sounds totally like where this bone is supposed to be, as described to me by my instructor. My vet is a trained chiropractor for horses- would she be aware of it and able to check to see if it is misplaced? Thank you so much for your reply ! Would you know if it could cause any of the weird symptoms I've described if it is misplaced?
Interesting, I've never heard of the hyoid apparatus needing to be adjusted. Is it normally related to tension carried in the tongue or muscles of mastication? Trauma to the area? Would a horse that carries tension through its jaw while riding be more likely to get it out of place?