Hooks In Equine Dentistry

Geoff Tucker, DVM FAQ - Advanced Leave a Comment

Hooks Block Free Movement Of The Jaw

Horse teeth erupt throughout their life and they are worn down by the opposing tooth. If nothing is there to wear down this growth, it becomes excessive and that is what is called a “hook.” This video describes various types of hooks and what problems they cause in your horse. Removing these hooks is the most aggressive procedure I perform but the results are worth it.

Hooks are formed when there is no opposing wear but when the mouth is held shut with a nose band and the head is flexed or turned, any hook will become a blockage to that head movement. The result is flipping of the head or a resistance to turning to one side. Removing the hook(s) resolves this bit problem. Again, it is not the fault of the bit but the teeth that are at the root of most bit problems.

As of 2020 I usually reduce hooks using medication and filing with more removal over subsequent floats. I rarely use the compound hook cutters to avoid using antibiotics in the event a pulp chamber is exposed while cutting the tooth.

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