Clinical signs of fractures of the mandible and incisive bone vary with their location and include dysphagia, excessive salivation, abnormal head contour, halitosis, malocclusion, crepitation and oral hemorrhage. Severe fractures may also affect the demeanor and general condition of the horse. In older fractures a foul smelling, fetid odor may be noted.
2. Clinical and radiographic examination
A thorough clinical examination of the oral cavity and radiographic examination of the fracture are carried out to develop a treatment plan. Examination of the oral cavity must be performed with care to prevent exacerbation of a fracture. A unilateral mouth gag is usually inserted only on the contralateral side of the fracture.
In complicated cases or when involvement of the temporomandibular joint is suspected a computed tomographic examination is extremely helpful and is strongly recommended.