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Indentation above the eye socket bulges while eating

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  • Indentation above the eye socket bulges while eating

    Still learning: just noticed an indentation above the horses' eye socket that bulges with hay chewing. Normally (without chewing) this is a socket shape but it bulges out like a squeezed water balloon with hay chewing. Some have it more pronounced than others. Can anybody shed some light on this? I am wondering why I haven't noticed this before. Is a larger bulge of any concern?

  • #2
    The bulge is larger on a young horse, it becomes less pronounced to non existent as they age.
    McDowell Racing Stables

    Home Away From Home


    • #3
      I've noticed it on one of my horses.. the fat one. The Aged TB has indentations/hollows above his eyes, which I associate with being dehydrated.
      Somehow with the fat one, I have a feeling it's an allergy to soy. He also has a bit of a breathing problem. This is completely an un medical opinion. It does bother me, I don't like it. This horse also recently developed uveitis.
      I'd love to hear others opinions/ experiences.
      Sometimes it looks like he has ping pong balls above his eyes while he is chewing.
      PS he is 25 now.


      • #4
        Perfectly normal, just more pronounced on some horses than others. It is less obvious in horses with fleshier heads than those with 'dry' heads, that is the only difference I have observed, and that is over a range of ages
        Founder of the Dyslexic Clique. Dyslexics of the world - UNTIE!!

        Member: Incredible Invisbles


        • #5
          That's totally normal! It's just the soft tissues above the very tippy top of their mandible moving. It doesn't mean anything, and there is nothing wrong.


          • #6
            Very normal. No need to worry.
            Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole


            • #7
              I have seen when my horses needed to have their teeth floated (and previously had been done not so well) and I did not really notice the bulge moving. My dentist said that when they are able to masticate properly with the slide and lift movement, it allows everything to move as it should which will cause the bulge to go in and out. And I did watch my mare and gelding before being floated and after and it really did become more pronounced after the float and stayed like that weeks and months later. I guess it makes sense though - if there are waves and hooks that are keeping the jaws from sliding and going together correctly, then the jaw muscles cant work as they should.

              Member of the ILMD[FN]HP Clique, The Florida Clique, OMGiH I loff my mares, and the Bareback Riders clique!


              • #8
                Old horses have a more pronounced dip there and less of a bulge while chewing because they start to lose fat deposits as they age, and that's one of the places that fat loss shows up.


                • #9
                  You can see them when they drink...with the ears bobbing. I always think it is cute.


                  • #10
                    I use it to my advantage when clipping the head. I give them something to chew (treat/carrot) and clip that spot when it bulges out. makes it much easier to do cleanly.


                    • #11
                      when I dissected a head the other week we got to see what that bulge is- it's just a pocket full of nice yellow fatty tissue in the space where the jaw bone inserts into the head, or the cornoid process of the mandible as some may call it! So it makes sense, as the jaw moves, the bones move and it pushes the fatty tissue out.


                      • #12
                        This might be really dumb, but I always wondered if that was the equivalent of our temple because of the way it moves like that. If you put your fingers on your temple and bite down, a similar but less visible 'bulge' motion occurs.

                        Any explanations?
                        Custom Equine Art


                        • #13
                          Yes, it's the equivalent of your temple. That space - in your head AND your horse's head - is there on purpose to give the chewing apparatus room to move while chomping away.
                          Disclaimer: My mom told me that people might look at my name and think I had an addiction other than horses. I don't; his name was Bravado.


                          • #14
                            What is even more fascinating is that the eyeballs also can bulge in and out while chewing. You can see it more on some horses than others and while their head is up. Once you see it you'll start noticing all the time. Creepy...


                            • Original Poster

                              Thanks for all the insights and additional observations!


                              • #16
                                If you look at your horse long enough there apper to be all sorts of bumps that apparently were not there before - except that they were. Hocks in particular seem to give me (unfounded) anxiety.
                                Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Foxtrot's View Post
                                  If you look at your horse long enough there apper to be all sorts of bumps that apparently were not there before - except that they were. Hocks in particular seem to give me (unfounded) anxiety.
                                  What's your secret? Every time I see a bump, I think "Oh, that was there all along," but of course it turns out that it wasn't there all along, and the horse actually has a sprained spavin or 3rd-degree gaskinitis or an abscessed homonculus.
                                  Dreadful Acres: the chronicle of my extraordinary unsuitability to country life


                                  • #18
                                    If the socket above the eye bulges out when the horse is not eating I believe it is a sign of Cushings.
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                                    • #19
                                      The coronoid process movement is what you're seeing.
                                      If I've gotten the photo upload to work, it's labelled.
                                      Attached Files
                                      "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

                                      ...just settin' on the Group W bench.


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Laurierace View Post
                                        The bulge is larger on a young horse, it becomes less pronounced to non existent as they age.
                                        Hey, this is good to know. I've always noticed it on the horses, obviously tied into the jaw, but my 3 year old is REALLY big when he chews compared to, say, the 7 year old. Of course, he's really big-boned all around, so I just figured it's his big old cheeks or jaw.
                                        If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.
                                        ~ Maya Angelou