Swellings of the angle of the mandible in 32 horses (1997-2011)

P M Dixon, N Loh, S Z Barakzai

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Disorders of the horizontal ramus (body) of the equine mandible are well reported, but there is minimal documentation of disorders of the angle of mandible. A retrospective examination of the records of Edinburgh University Equine Hospital (1997-2011) showed that 32 horses were referred due to swellings of the angle of the mandible. The aetiology of these swellings was identified in just 13/32 cases (41%) including fractures (n=2), traumatic, localised periosteal/cortical lesions (n=4), traumatic soft tissue lesions (n=2), neoplasia (n=3), and inflammation of the adjacent salivary gland (n=1) and masseter muscle (n=1). The remaining 19 (59%) cases without a definitive diagnosis showed two patterns of lesions. Twelve cases had localised periosteal/cortical lesions of the ventral aspect of the angle of mandible that were most likely traumatic in origin. The remaining seven undiagnosed cases without mandibular bony changes all had sinus tracts/chronic soft tissue infections on the medial aspect of the angle of the mandible which were believed to be caused by a draining retro-pharyngeal lesion in five cases. Surgical excision of abnormal soft tissues (if present) and bone curettage was the most successful treatment. It was concluded that the aetiology of swellings of the angle of the equine mandible are often obscure; most appear to be traumatic in origin, yet horses seldom develop gross fractures at this site due to the support of the dense surrounding musculo-tendinous structures. A smaller proportion are caused by draining retropharyngeal lesions that respond poorly to medical therapy, but respond well to surgical treatment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-102
JournalVeterinary Journal
Issue number1
Early online date18 Oct 2013
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014


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