Friday, December 13, 2013

Say "Ah"

Pretty drive down the barn driveway

It was a lucky day in the life of the semi ferals.  They got to see the vet.

OK, maybe they didn't feel so lucky, seeing as how they were sedated and had dental work done.  But hey, at least they get to have a goofy "trip" while having dental work done!  There are times when I'd like a little "pain free" dentistry too.

I am quite fortunate in the fact I have access to some wonderful veterinarians, including one that has advanced work and interest in dentistry.  I am also grateful that she maintains an open mind and a keen eye towards current literature.

The semi feral mare has a few dark colored spots on her gumlines above her incisor teeth.  This can be indicative of "Equine Odontoclastic Tooth Resorption and Hypercementosis" which is quite the mouthful, but essentially, the front incisors "rot" out.  I have kept a careful eye as well as my veterinarian.  We are checking for signs of dental pain, loosening of the incisors, or a swelling on the top of the gums.  Fortunately, the Semi Feral Mare received an A+ in this category today with no major issues.

Next, were the cheek teeth.  The mare is getting a little older and has the beginning of a wave mouth, but the vet and I decided on a conservative path to balance her mouth, without smoothing down any excess.  In late teens, there isn't much more dental surface that will be "erupted" so aggressive floating can prematurely remove dental surfaces needed to chew food later in life. 

A small pocket/gap was noted in one area, but no real inflammation.  Good thing to check and note.

One thing we tried a little differently today was that she wasn't "hung" in the typical dental halter.  She was put up on the padded dental stand and did quite well.  Usually she is very heavily sedated and fights the dental halter, even when she is so drunk she could belong on a college bar on Friday evening.  So just getting the evil eye was a major improvement in my book.

This came about from an observation that she tends to be "sticky" and stiff in her poll.  We chatted a bit about possible cervical/neck arthritis causing her to be uncomfortable while hung.  The vet seemed please on the semi feral mare's much more civilized behavior and was optimistic about trying the stand on some other tricky horses that also were difficult to hang in the dental halter.

Then we did the little red filly.  Really, I made the appointment for her.  She quietly waited while we heckled and harassed her mother, chewing on the crossties the whole while.  Little turkey.

She was a cheap date.  So far her mouth looks pretty good for a young horse's mouth.  The filly had to be a little goofy and decide to shed premolar caps before the front incisor caps because well..she doesn't do anything on anyone's schedule.  Including being born.  But she is a redhead after all.  ;)

Wolf teeth pulled, teeth floated a little bit to adjust some pretty sharp points that were causing a bit of discomfort in her mouth and we called it a day.

I'm not sure the filly was pleased about the day's adventure.  Usually going into the barn is cool things like grooming and running around like a spunky loon.  Not being drugged and having cold metal gear placed in places when it's arctic temperatures outside.

What the heck happened today???
Good day.  Mostly because it was the horses having the dental work and not myself.  ;)

How often do your horses get dental work done?  Vet or equine dentist? 


  1. I use an equine dentist and I loooove him! He comes once a year and is fantastic. He hand floats, doesn't use sedation, and is so patient with the animals. A rope halter is all he needs and the horses are putty in his hands. He takes time to make them comfortable and I have never seen any horses act up or refuse his care. Is is weird that I can't wait until he comes out again? I just really like watching him work.

  2. That's great that you have access to a good dentist. I have only seen one work and the work seemed very subpar. The mare ended up having dental issues and needed to be done again by a veterinarian. The dentist seemed a little more concerned about how her incisors aligned rather than addressing the cheek teeth causing ulcerations. Not sure.

    Is not using sedation an issue with reaching the back cheek teeth and checking for periodontal disease? I know there are a few good equine dentists that will travel through this way, but they all still all a vet out to sedate to work on tricky mouths, especially with the last molar or two.

    1. Not using sedation does not seem to be an issue. He does use the mouth holder open thing. I like how when he is not in the mouth, he takes it off. So even though for him, it seems like it would be a hassle to put it on and take it off, he does for the comfort of the horse. He also lets us look and feel the teeth, which is super cool.


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