This section is from the book "The Farmers Ready Reference Or Hand Book Of Diseases Of Horses And Cattle", by S. C. Orr. . Also available from Amazon: The Farmer's Ready Reference;.
As the teeth are the principal organs by which the food is prepared to enter the stomach, it is necessary that they are sound and in good order. Young horses often suffer during their second dentition. Sometimes the old caps of the milk teeth fail to shed and remain wedged in between the permanent teeth as they grow out. When this happens they should be removed with a pair of forceps.
By reason of a difference of width in the upper and lower jaws the teeth become so worn as to leave sharp points on the outer edges of the upper teeth which lacerate the cheeks, and on the inner edges of the lower teeth which lacerate the tongue. Also, sometimes one of the grinders is broken off by biting upon some hard substance in the feed; and then the tooth in the jaw opposite, receiving no pressure, soon extends into the vacancy and causes great inconvenience in eating. Slobbering, cudding the hay, and taking a mouthful of grain and letting it drop again are indications that something is wrong with the teeth. The long teeth should either be extracted or cut off and the sharp points should be dressed down. Special instruments, as well as experience, are necessary in such cases, and the best way is to go to a good veterinary dentist.
The so-called "wolf or blind teeth" are the great bugbear of the quack. The term "wolf" is a misnomer applied by early-day horsemen as signifying something harmful or destructive, as these teeth were supposed to affect the eyes. A more appropriate name would be Remnant Teeth, as they are simply the remnants of teeth once functionally developed and which, through the process of evolution, have diminished to their present size and inconstancy. They have no effect upon the eyes whatever.
Sometimes the tongue becomes sore from cutting on the teeth or other cause. Dissolve an ounce of alum in a pint of water and apply three times a day.
This is not properly a disease; but rather a condition consequent upon the process of dentition. Do not burn them out with a hot iron, but, if greatly gorged with blood, scarify the gums with a sharp knife. All that is necessary generally is to rub the gums with powdered alum and give the horse soft feed for a few days.
Sometimes a horse, when feeding upon dry oats or ground feed, will get some of it lodged in the gullet and become choked. Moving around or making him jump over some object will generally remove it. Give him a couple of ounces of oil, or dissolve a teaspoonful of saltpetre in two ounces of water and pour down his throat, then rub the outside of the neck with the hand. If these remedies fail, seek a veterinarian, as it is not safe for the uninitiated to attempt to use the probang.
Indigestion may be acute, coming on quickly, or it may be chronic, coming on slowly. But, as the acute form is the forerunner of, and generally ends in, flatulent colic, it will be fully treated under that head; hence, only the chronic form will be considered here.