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Parrot mouthed horses

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  • Parrot mouthed horses

    My friend just had the most beautiful little Arab colt born, he was born here at my house and he has a rather severe parrot mouth.

    I have done some research on this but would like to hear from people that have owned these horses and what special needs they have or problems they have.

    There is a good 3/4" gap between his top jaw and lower jaw and he is only 24 hours old. He had a really hard time learning to nurse because of it too, now he is doing just fine and happy and healthy other than his little "beak"

    What have your experiences been with this ???

  • #2
    Its going to make life difficult but not impossible for him. Close attention will have to be paid to his teeth as they develop and he will probably have to see an equine dentist rather frequently. It will be difficult for him to graze and if the malocclusion involves the molar alignment, then chewing will be problematic for him when his adult teeth come in.

    If, as he grows, he gets un-thrifty, then the kindest thing may be to humanely euthanize him.

    Hopefully, the owners will geld him and not breed the mare to the same stallion again.



    • #3
      I have an 18 year old pony that was born with a pretty severe parrot mouth. He had problems not only in the front but in the back too, as his teeth do not meet up at the very back and he gets a very sharp point on each lower edge. However he has done well, easy keeper, can graze on grass unless it is very short. I wouldn't even consider euthanizing him!
      Maria Hayes-Frosty Oak Stables
      Home to All Eyez On Me, 1998 16.2 Cleveland Bay Sporthorse Stallion
      & FrostyOak Hampton 2008 Pure Cleveland Bay Colt


      • Original Poster


        Funny that is the first article I read about it in my research, it's a good one

        Definitely going to be a gelding she never wanted a stud anyway. Would not breed those 2 again either. His owner has been doing her own research also and said she will stay up on his dental care every 6 months if that's what it takes.

        Obviously if he is suffering for some reason later in life because of it she would re-evaluate the situation.

        Glad to hear about the 18 year old pony that gives us some hope! THX


        • #5
          One of our local trainers had a parrot mouthed Oldenburg, fairly severe and he has done quite well in dressage. I believe he is 4 or 5. I don't know what special needs he has but she sold him last year to a really good young rider. We boarded him for a couple of weeks for some reason I can't remember except he kicked out one of our arena mirrors while was l had him on the longe line! He was not hurt.


          • #6
            I have two parrot mouthed old folks. They came to me old so I dont know what difficulties they encountered in there younger years but..............with a bit extra time to eat, they also eat alfalfa hay, both these old ladies are doing just fine. Just a bit more care is all.
            Our horses are not seen as the old and disabled they may have become, but rather as the mighty steeds they once believed themselves to be.

            Sunkissed Acres Rescue and Retirement


            • #7
              Isn't there some sort of contraption they can fit them with to help? I don't think they always work, though. There was a long, crazy thread a few years back about someone who bought a fancy youngster who turned out to be parrot mouthed. It was a classic train-wreck; it surely is archived.


              • #8
                I have a 3 yr old filly

                Rescued her last year from a feedlot as a project horse. She's a QH type, no papers of course. Probably dumped by a breeder because of her defect.
                She's a lovely horse and her mouth is pretty severe.
                She's been easy to keep weight on, does fine in pasture during the summer as long as there is sufficient length to the field. I did notice that it was easier (didn't drop as much) for her to eat her pellets and grain if I wet it and made it mushy. But that was before I had her teeth floated this spring. Vet says she should be able to go fine with a bit, pulled some caps off the molars and said that it was just something to keep up with regular checkups.

                Probably the biggest concern with my filly was that the vet said that down the road, depending on how her teeth continue to grow, she may need a couple of the bottom ones pulled so they don't damage the roof of her mouth, cause a more severe deformity.
                Oh, and we had to "McGyver" the mouth thingy that holds the mouth open since the botom portion had no lower teeth to fit in it. Ended up with a sweat scraper type thing duct taped in place over the lower teeth/jaw. Worked pretty good.

                I think the only really downside is that if your firend is serious about showing it may be a penalty in some classes, shows etc. But for general all around family, trail etc horse it can be monitered pretty easily.


                • Original Poster

                  Thanks for the replies!

                  She wanted a filly and was going to sell it if it was a colt but now it looks as though she will be keeping the little guy. He is just as sweet as he can be and handsome to boot! Pretty bay with 3 high whites and a big white blaze


                  • #10
                    Maybe it will make it harder for him to chew Mama's lovely tail! Seriously, a friend of mine had sort of the same situation. She bred her Paint mare and ended up with a beautiful but parrot-mouthed filly. Neither the mare or stud showed any signs! The filly is now about ten and doing fine-never a problem with keeping weight on her although she does drop a little grain. My friend shows her successfully under saddle (no halter!) and won't breed either her or the mare. She calls them her geldings.


                    • #11
                      I have a yearling colt that was born like that last year. He was a homebred that I intend to keep. I talked to several vets, the decision I made was to try to make the investment to "fix" it the best I can. I plan on keeping this boy and I would be sure to keep up with having his teeth floated as often as needed. Unfortunately I'm a realist and I know things come up in life. I don't want to risk my "problem" horse ending up somewhere that he doesn't get his teeth properly cared for.

                      So, we put braces on him Yup, that's right and they are cheaper than putting braces on kids, thank goodness.

                      The vet who did the procedure has done it several times before and said he's had good results. My boy was pretty severe, there was a good inch between the front of his lower teeth and the back of his upper teeth.

                      The vet drilled holes through his front, top molars and then more holes through his top front teeth (insicsors?). Wires were passed through the teeth and it was all tied together. The vet explained there is a growth plate between the front teeth and molars. If we can restrict this growth plate, the bottom jaw will catch up.

                      Now, this is not a perfect solution but it will allow the horse to graze much easier. The molars still probably won't meet correctly and he will need points addressed on a regular basis.

                      Costs? It was about $900 for the first appointment where "braces" were applied and he was castrated. (talk about a bad day LOL). We were hoping it would take 4-5 months to correct his teeth but it looks like it's going to be more like 8 or so. They were put on in Jan and one of the wires grew out last month and that was another $400 to fix that.

                      I'm happy with my decision though. My gelding doesn't even seem to notice the wires and there is no daily care required. I check his wires once a week. The wires are way up in the roof of his mouth and don't interfere with eating.

                      The only thing I wish I had done was put them on a little earlier. The vet suggested they be applied between 4-6 months of age. Mine was at the end of 6 months and I think he's going to wear them longer because of that.

                      Feel free to PM me if you want more info. I will try to find some pics.


                      • #12
                        Another ray of hope: are you sure it is a parrot mouth and not an overbite? Overbites can be a developmental stage. I have now had two colts born with severe overbites that self-corrected. I wouldn't COUNT on it, but it can happen!
                        Shall I tell you what I find beautiful about you? You are at your very best when things are worst.


                        • Original Poster

                          She just talked to a vet about it today and they are planning on going the "braces" route! She will be contacting a few more for 2nd and 3rd opinions though.

                          So at 9 weeks she will call the vet and they will order the wire and then at 10weeks have it put on.

                          I'm going to send her this link so she can read this info also she is registered here but doesn't come on often.

                          I will have her PM you or if she wants I will PM you her e-mail address.

                          Again thank you all for the replies it's nice to have access to such a wide and diverse crowd of opinions and experiences.


                          • #14
                            No prob! I'd be happy to talk to her.

                            Definately get a few different opinions. There are cases of overbites that self correct.

                            Here's a pic of mine at 2 months.

                            He actually got worse slowly until the braces were applied.


                            • Original Poster

                              Vet is comming out tomorrow @ 1:00 I'll let you know what they say, overbite or parrot mouth.


                              • #16
                                Overbites will have some incisors that meet. Parrot mouthed horses have none of the incisors meeting. The incisors are only the easily identified potion of the problem. The molars also don't meet well in both cases. Any correction will likely leave the same problems in the molars section.


                                • Original Poster

                                  Vet said it was rather severe, (which we already knew) none of the front teeth will match up at all, he recommended the "braces" route. The other vet recommended a wire on the upper jaw sort of like a retainer but the vet today said he has done that a couple of times and this other approach works better. He told her if all she wanted to do was keep him and trail ride for the rest of his life she could just leave it and it wouldn't cause any problems but if she ever wanted to sell or show him she should consider this. Also it will make it so he can graze thus lowering her feed bill for him in the long run. She figures a one time cost of fixing it while he is little would be cheaper in the long run than extensive dental care every 6 months for the rest of his life, the vet also said the visits are not just routine visits they are more extensive so they cost more than routine dental work.

                                  So he is calling back with a quote.


                                  • #18
                                    But if you do braces will it correct the back teeth too? My pony had the most problems way in the back. His teeth didn't line up and he would get razor sharp points pointing up into his top gums. We'd have to file them down, or if they grew too much we would have to clip them off and then file. So you may still need dental work regularly.

                                    My boy though has it really bad, and he's rather cute, rather fat and VERY healthy at 18!
                                    Maria Hayes-Frosty Oak Stables
                                    Home to All Eyez On Me, 1998 16.2 Cleveland Bay Sporthorse Stallion
                                    & FrostyOak Hampton 2008 Pure Cleveland Bay Colt


                                    • Original Poster

                                      I'm not sure, we'll have to ask that question I think the braces are to align the jaw not the teeth so it very well could help with the back teeth but then again maybe not...I really have no idea

                                      I wasn't able to be here yesterday when the vet came, dang it!


                                      • #20
                                        I do not think anything they can do will help the molars. I was told all we could do was fix the front teeth to help with grazing and make sure his molars were checked every 6 months.

                                        Maybe they have something different in mind.