Wry nose

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Jersey calf with wry nose

Wry nose is a deviation of the rostral maxilla, meaning that the upper jaw and nose are deviated to one side.[1] This usually causes the nasal septum (the cartilage plate that separates the right and left nasal passageways) to be deviated as well, resulting in obstruction of the airway, and breathing difficulties.[1] Wry nose is most obvious in species with long faces, such as horses and cattle. It is a congenital abnormality, meaning that it is present at birth.[2]

Wry nose in the horse[edit]

Skull of a 4-year-old wry nosed horse

The cause of wry nose in horses is unknown; it may have a genetic cause, or be due to malpositioning in the uterus.[1] A wry nose may cause difficultly during foaling (dystocia).[3]

A foal with wry nose may have poor alignment (malocclusion) of the teeth,[2] although foals can usually still nurse and in most cases are bright and active.[4] Affected horses may have difficulty prehending food (taking food up into their mouth) and difficulty chewing food, which can lead to uneven wearing of the cheek teeth.[5] Other deformities may be present, such as neck deformities, or, occasionally, limb deformities.[1]

Radiography (x-ray) of the head can be used to assess the severity of the skull deviation,[1] and endoscopy can be used to assess any abnormalities in the soft palate and the nasal passages.[2] Mild cases of wry nose will not require treatment,[1] but severe deviations will need reconstructive surgery. Such surgery requires significant aftercare,[1] the cosmetic appearance cannot be guaranteed,[6] athletic performance is likely to be poor,[2] and further surgeries may be required.[6] Euthanasia is indicated if the surgery is unlikely to be successful.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Brid McAuliffe, S (2014). "Wry nose". Knottenbelt and Pascoe's Color Atlas of Diseases and Disorders of the Horse (2nd ed.). Elsevier Health Sciences. p. 105. ISBN 9780702054211.
  2. ^ a b c d Couëtil, L; Hawkins, JF (2013). "Chapter 9: Congenital abnormalities". Respiratory diseases of the horse a problem-oriented approach to diagnosis and management. London: Manson. pp. 201–212. ISBN 9781840766479.
  3. ^ Abernathy-Young, KK; LeBlanc, MM; Embertson, RM; Pierce, SW; Stromberg, AJ (1 October 2012). "Survival rates of mares and foals and postoperative complications and fertility of mares after cesarean section: 95 cases (1986-2000)". Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. 241 (7): 927–34. doi:10.2460/javma.241.7.927. PMID 23013507.
  4. ^ Diehl, N (1 October 2001). "Wry Nose in Horses?". TheHorse.com.
  5. ^ Schumacher, J; Brink, P; Easley, J; Pollock, P (1 September 2010). "[Surgical correction of wry nose of 13 horses] Correction chirurgicale de la déviation congénitale du nez : étude de 13 cas". Pratique vétérinaire équine (in French). 167.
  6. ^ a b Schumacher, J (2014). Hawkins, JF, ed. Advances in Equine Upper Respiratory Surgery. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 157–166. ISBN 9781118814673.
  7. ^ Tremaine, H. (1 April 1997). "Dental care in horses". In Practice. 19 (4): 186–199. doi:10.1136/inpract.19.4.186.