Yorkshire Times
Weekend Edition
Hannah Russell
Features Writer
4:02 PM 2nd August 2017

Little Alf Is Losing His Teeth...

Little Alf has been losing his teeth..... but don't worry it's not because he's been eating too many sweets nor is it because he's not been brushing them enough or skipped seeing the dentist.

Alfie is losing his teeth as he is teething at the moment.

In fact he's been teething quite a while. This is because Alfie has dwarfism and means he has an overshot jaw which also goes by the term of 'parrot mouth' in the equestrian world. But don't worry Alfie isn't going to start talking like a parrot any time soon.

Having an overshot jaw means that Alfie's teeth don't line up. In Alfie's case his top jaw has developed too long and his bottom jaw is too short. Funnily enough 'parrot mouth' or as I know it as 'overshot jaw' is quite common in horses.

Scientists say that in the equestrian world it is around a 2-5% rate which is quite a lot if you think about 2-5 out of 100 horses have parrot mouth to some degree!

At 5 years old Alfie shouldn't be still losing his teeth. Usually horses lose their teeth between the ages of 6 months to 3 years old and should have their full set of adult teeth by four years old at the latest!

So Alfie is what is known as a 'slow developer.' Usually horses lose their teeth by the top and bottom teeth grinding down on each other, but because of Alfie's overshot jaw they can't do this, therefore they are taking a little longer to come out.

Luckily they don't seem to be causing Alfie too much pain. He had the equine dentist visit him a few weeks ago and he is all on track to have a healthy set of adult teeth.

Generally horses over 5 years old and under 20 only need their teeth checking once a year, which usually includes their teeth being rasped and examined to make sure they are all okay.

As Alfie is still developing his new set of teeth he is currently having them checked every 6 months, but thankfully they are developing naturally and how they should be, so the dentist won't be adding any fillings or braces anytime soon...

Alfie is currently going through a teething stage where he just seems to want to bite everything. I have got him some dog teething chews which seem to be giving him some degree of relief. This puts my mind at ease a little.

A horse has around 36-40 teeth so Alfie has quite a long way to go yet!

Somehow I can't imagine Alfie having that many teeth as his mouth is so tiny!