The importance of teeth - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 06-07-2010, 08:27 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
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The importance of teeth

Just a reminder to any of us out there who still cater to the school of knowledge that a horse in the wild doesn't have a dentist, and mine doesn't either!

Having grown up in a very old school type education, I was much the same - if they're holding good weight, not losing grain and not having problems under saddle, then they're just fine!

But how many of us have horses that suffer in silence? I know a mare that was ridden to oozing blood from a saddle sore and never let her rider know - she's also never had her teeth checked in her entire 12 years and I bet you money she's just riddled with old scar tissue because she's to docile to complain.

We had the vet out today, mostly because we always have him out when the youngsters turn about 3 or 4 to pull any wolf teeth and give them a check. Zierra's first and only float was when she was 5 years old - and that was 6 years ago. She got her second one done today and I feel like a complete and total jackass because her mouth was riddled with old sores from catching her own tongue between the bit and her own razor tooth. But she was fat and sassy, not losing grain, and not acting any differently so she was fine!

From this day forth, I do solemnly swear I will dedicate myself to a minimum of an annual check for any and every horse I own. No horse should have to suffer in silence because they're too gentle to complain and we're too selfish and ignorant to want to part with $150 bucks a YEAR for their dental health.

I hope God tells her to smash her computer with a sledgehammer.

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post #2 of 6 Old 06-07-2010, 11:13 PM
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Hear hear! Yep, horses can be stoic about these things. As prey animals, they're sort of 'programmed' not to show pain or gait abnormalities & such unless they're too acute to ignore.... & then you get the ones who take that to extreme.

Yes, sure, horses in the wild don't have dentists attending them, but neither do they eat the rich and unnatural diets of many domestics.... and more to the point, neither do they generally live nearly as long.

Have a friend who professes to believe in 'natural hoof care', meaning she completely ignores her horse's feet & they haven't seen a farrier in many years! As a HCP I've often made noises to her about it, but I can't even stand to look at her horses any more. Apparently the RSPCA can't do anything until the horses are actually lame.
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post #3 of 6 Old 06-07-2010, 11:55 PM
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Location: Washington, USA.
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If this were Facebook, I'd "like" this post. =]

Teeth certainly are something too many people let slide. A lady at work had to put her horse down recently, because he choked and then developed pneumonia. Come to find out he had never had his teeth done in his whole 25 years of life! No wonder the poor old man choked!! Now she's looking for another horse and asking me to let her know if I know of any, but I'm certainly not going to put a horse in her care. o_O

Anyway, you get a "like" from me. =]

"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."
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post #4 of 6 Old 06-08-2010, 12:25 AM
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I felt the same way when I had Nicos teeth done. I honestly was procrastinating...i got him in december and the vet was coming for spring shots in march. I thought it could wait. I wasnt riding a ton but he was getting harder and harder to handle and was mouth gaping every chance he got. When the vet came to do his teeth, she said he had most likely never been done. He had open sores in his mouth and the vet actually cut herself during the exam. I still feel awful about it. I guess we both have lessons learned.
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post #5 of 6 Old 06-08-2010, 03:04 AM
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...And then we get into the question of good, bad or indifferent dentistry. I took on a pony on free lease a year ago & the owner stipulated that I use her dentist & get him every 6 months, unless the dentist said that often wasn't necessary. She'd studied to be a horse dentist, but didn't practice, and she said what she'd learned made her extremely careful about who she'd use. She also said that she would always have her horses sedated for the job, not for behaviour so much as relaxing necessary muscles - that the dentist couldn't do the best job without sedation.

Well, despite having diligently employed the local dentist yearly for my current horse, more often when he was younger & the dentist suggested it, the first time I had this new guy out, he looked in my boy's mouth & started lecturing me on the necessity of regular care - not sure if he actually believed me when I said Nook had had regular care...
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post #6 of 6 Old 06-09-2010, 10:13 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
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Excellent point! Because of our small equine community, not having a barn has played a HUGE part in our annual care. We simply don't have facilities like in the US, I believe only one place has the setup for you to bring your horse in and the vets won't come out to do x-rays or ultrasounds without a barn. We're lucky we can get a farrier!

For the last few years, we'd been using an "equine dentist" where we actually board now because he lived at the ranch and it was a 10 minute trailer ride. He was also cheaper then the vets.

We were alarmed to discover a proper floating DOESN'T take an hour! We also had no idea he wasn't certified and getting his sedatives illegally! If anything would have happened, we'd have had no legal action against him. We got one of the most highly regarded vets out this time, and he did all three of ours in 45 minutes! He explained to us that any idiot who's grinding down the FRONT TEETH is because they took the back teeth too short and now have to even them out. I had NO idea. The vet also made us look at each mouth before and after, and was extremely amazing at explaining to us why it's so important and the risks we were taking. He showed us how you only ever want to grind down ridges, not go attacking the tooth itself to try and keep them "going for longer".

It was also a great chance to pick his brain about Justus' swollen teat (she's fine), and about Jynxy tieing up and stifle locking (he thinks it's normal since it's only happened once). Can't do that with a random cowboy!

I hope God tells her to smash her computer with a sledgehammer.

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