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What Are the Treatments for a Broken Jaw Bone on a Horse?

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    Jaw Breaks

    • According to the magazine Horse & Hound, the jaw is the most common bone in a horse's head to fracture. It may occur due to being kicked or because the animal got its head stuck, causing it to pull back to free itself.

    Complications

    • A broken jaw can make it difficult or impossible for a horse to eat. The jaw bone in a horse is large and a fracture can be painful. If the fracture is not noticed right away, or if there is an open wound, the horse is at risk of developing an infection.

    Surgical Treatment

    • Surgery is one option for treating a broken jaw. Wires, screws, pins and plates can be used in order to hold pieces of bone together, which allows them to heal in the proper position.

    Interdental Wiring

    • For some fractures of the mandible, another treatment option is interdental wiring. David Moll, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVS, describes the procedure as inserting a needle into the horse's gums in order to secure wire around the fracture and anchor it to the horse's teeth. The wire can be tightened as needed to help stabilize the fracture.

    Recovery

    • The horse's head has a large supply of blood, which helps encourage healing. Once the jaw is stabilized, most horses will have a smooth recovery and be in little pain. Antibiotics may be prescribed to keep infections at bay. The severity of the break will determine how long it takes to recover; however, interdental wiring patients usually heal and are ready for wire removal after six to eight weeks.

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