365 Days in Horse Country – Quidding
Quidding refers to an eating disorder that may be caused by abnormal space between adjacent cheek teeth. Horses that quid often chew with their mouth open. They take a mouthful of food, chew it partially until it forms a mass, and then drop it from the mouth. Sometimes the horse stops chewing briefly, and then starts again. At other times, the partially chewed food becomes stuck between the teeth and cheek. Quidding is a sign of an oral or dental problem, such as difficulty swallowing or broken teeth.
A horse that’s capable of chewing and swallowing properly keeps her lips closed and doesn’t let much food fall to the ground. Be concerned if the horse shifts food in her mouth from side to side or frequently drops it.
Horses that are in poor condition or have difficulty keeping weight on may well have a dental problem.
Besides being a common cause of severe quidding, painful periodontal disease or a sore mouth can cause related digestive problems. It’s not unusual for a horse to bolt her food without chewing in an attempt to avoid irritating the tender area. The result is often indigestion and colic. Food that isn’t chewed properly doesn’t provide good nutrition either. That’s why these horses often appear unthrifty.
Widening the space between the teeth so food won’t get trapped with a burr attachment on a motorized rasp can help the food move more easily through the mouth. This procedure is performed by a veterinarian. The horse must be standing and heavily sedated at the time of treatment. This treatment, when successful, often resolves quidding within a week of treatment.