EOTRH Syndrome in Horses

EOTRH Syndrome stands for Equine Odontoclastic Tooth Resorption and Hypercementosis. What the HELL is that, right?! I actually said the same thing to myself just the other day.

My horse "Hunter" (god bless him) is turning 25yrs old on November 24th! Hunter has always looked younger than his age. He has thick copper chestnut mane and tail that any other horse would envy. Two back socks and a star on his head in the shape of a heart, and the spirit of a 7yr old gelding.

For twenty-one years, I have had the luxury and luck of having an easy keeper. I didn't have to deal with colics, ulcers and all the normal day-to-day worries most equestrians have when caring for their horse. Hunter did unfortunately, have one severe issue, earlier in his life that caused him to have a lame hind end. Ever so slightly, and he would often bounce back from it and appear as though nothing had been wrong. But after knowing him since he was 5ys old, which is when our journey together began, I knew in my heart it was time for retirement at 15. Still young at heart, but it wasn't fair in my mind to keep him going in and our of lameness, when he can just retire and be sound and pain-free for the rest of his time out in the green pastures.

To change tones, and move back towards the topic of this blog post, on Thursday, July 6th, I was given a call from the current farm owner where Hunter resides, to let me know he wasn't gaining weight and we should possibly test for Cushing's Disease. He had all the signs. (Also known as Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction or PPID, Cushing's Disease is a dysfunction of the pituitary gland. It is most common in older horses (18 – 23 years). The vet was called and came out that day for an evaluation and some blood work. The test results had not come back yet, but the Vet proceeded to tell me that Hunter had EOTRH. At first I'm like "okay, don't know what it is, but how do we fix it?" They vet then gave me the worse news I could every image....

EOTRH is a syndrome in horses that results in resorptive lesions of the incisors and sometimes canine teeth. Sadly, it often isn’t diagnosed until it has hit a more severe stage where lesions in the gums are present. It typically can be seen in older horses (15+). However, it does not discriminate against horses that are as young as thirteen!

Unfortunately, EOTRH (Equine Odontoclastic Tooth Resorption and Hypercementosis) has not had a long lasting history, as it has only recently been diagnosed. The Veterinary industry does not know why this disease occurs, or where it stems from. Therefore, there is not very many options for treatment except to extract the teeth affected based on the severity which can only been seen and properly diagnosed through radiographs. 

 As the disease gets works the roots of the tooth start to resolve causing the teeth to become loose. This can be pretty painful as most horses will start refusing to bite down on carrots, treats and will even refrain from grazing or eating their feed. This then causes additional complications as the horse will now have significant weight loss.

Hunter sadly is at the phase where weight-loss is an issue but hasn't yet lost his appetite and continues to eat slowly. Horses, just like dogs, can be pretty amazing when pain is involved. A stoic animal is admirable but yet a danger to himself. Not allowing stress or pain to be shown, dent always allow us to know what is going on sooner rather than later.

Veterinarians say, that extraction of the front teeth typically can relieve the pain and they recover very well. Personally, with Hunter at the age of 25, I find myself struggling between selfishness to want to do whats best for him to not feel pain, and consider removing the front teeth, and having to put him down. I know it sounds harsh, but with my options so limited, these are sadly my options. I am not too sure if it is fair to remove his teeth and have him go through such an intense recovery at the age of 25. As a fur-parent, there comes a point in your life when you have to think of the quality of life you want your pet to have....Will it will leave him disease free? Will he be able to adjust well? Will this cause depression? Will he be in pain? These are all questions that I don't have answers for just yet. Once Tuesday/Wednesday comes, I will know a lot more about Hunter's condition. 

We learn about life as we go through life. I've learned through the support of my friends, that the feeling of guilt is normal and I have done everything I can to give Hunter a very long, happy life, and any decision I make will certainly be ONLY for his best interest. My pets come before myself and I wouldn't have it any other way.

For more information on this disease, I have included this link...



*This blog is not meant or intended to treat, cure or give licensed medical advice. This blog solely gives suggestions and counsel based on education & personal experience. Please consult with your #veterinarianbefore making any changes to your dogs diet*
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