Submitted by: Judy Zachary - Zachary Farms
Wry nose, or deviated rostral
maxilla and associated nasal septal deviation, is a congenital deformity in
the horse (he is born with it). There is no good evidence that wry nose in
the horse is heritable (has a genetic predisposition). No one really knows
what causes it,
but as with other congenital deformities, it might result from
malpositioning in the uterus. Wry-nosed foals might result in dystocia
(difficult foaling), and can also have other deformities of the neck and
occasionally of the limbs. It is not common--although we can't really name
an exact percentage of affected foals.
A foal with wry nose will have the upper jaw and nose deviated or turned
to one side. A deviated nasal septum (the cartilage plate that separates the
right and left nasal passageways) is also usually present, which results in
obstruction of the airway and difficulty breathing. This is the greatest
functional concern with wry nose. There will usually be malocclusion (poor
alignment) of the teeth, although most foals can still nurse and in most
cases are bright and active.
Very mild cases of wry nose might resolve on their own with time.
More severe deviations will need to be treated surgically.
Radiographs of the head will help the veterinarian assess the severity
and recommend treatment options.
Surgical correction is generally undertaken in multiple stages. This
type of reconstructive surgery is expensive and requires significant
aftercare. Although the objective of the surgery is usually to make the
horse capable of being an athlete, unfortunately, neither the functional or
cosmetic outcome can be guaranteed.