Overbite in foals: Certainly nothing to be afraid of

It is more common than we think, but how serious is an overbite in (young) foals? We asked our auction veterinarian Maarten Aarts of Veterinary Practice Schijndel – Sint Oedenrode.

“In case of an overbite, the upper incisors protrude past the lower incisors. There are gigantic differences in gradations of a minimal overbite of a few millimeters to extreme cases where the upper incisors are overhanging the lower incisors by 7 to 9 centimeters. In only a few instances, the lower jar is too short.

Spontaneous recovery
“When the foals are still young, you see it among 20% of the foals. The majority of the foals with a minimal overbite recovers spontaneously in time. It seldomly worsens, foals are truly born with an overbite.”

Is an overbite an inherited condition? “An overbite is hereditary, though it is unknown how it is transmitted. There are studies that indicate a degree of heredity. However, it is not predictable. And thus, you cannot rule out an overbite based on crossing certain bloodlines.”

The downsides
Ok, that’s clear. But what are the downsides of an overbite? “In case of a minimal overbite there are absolutely no disadvantages for the foal. The disadvantages entirely depend on the gradation. When the incisors do not align correctly, the foal cannot eat properly, the same applies in malocclusion of the molars. We often observe a lot of resistance on the efficiency of the grinding and that in turn affects the attrition of the molars. Only extreme cases of overbite are unfavorable for the sport.”

“Like I said earlier, a minimal overbite almost always recovers with time. In addition, filing the occlusal of the molars can help, just like grating the incisors. In extreme cases, mouth plates are used, or surgery offers a solution, in which a part of the jaw is removed.”

No need to panic
If someone has a foal with a few mm overbite or is considering buying a foal that has a few mm overbite, what is your advice? “An overbite is certainly not something to be afraid of. However, always make sure you timely follow up with the dentist and not until the foal is three years old.”

The Global Dressage Auction is known for auctioning genetically interesting embryos and dressage foals. The next auction is planned on 7-10 October. For questions regarding the selection, please contact us here.