twitch for floating teeth? - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 6 Old 04-24-2012, 12:23 AM Thread Starter
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twitch for floating teeth?

I know people were talking about twitching not long ago....But that just confused me more! Id always thought it was a fairly painful experience for the horse to make them comply when all else had failed? But some people were talking about it having a relaxing effect on the horse? Is that what its supposed to do?

The reason im asking is because my OTTB has an absolute hatred of the twitch. He had a bad bout of colic a while back and the vet sedated him and then twitched him to put a line into his stomach and he went from being sleepy under sedation to trying to kill her and her assistant. She said that most OTTBs will have been twitched regularly to put electrolytes into them before a race. He's the most placid horse ever but the twitch made him seriously angry to the point that the vet had to give up trying to put the line in.
When I first got him he was very headshy, which then narrowed down to just "noseshy" so Im thinking that was all fear of the twitch.

So, my question is...I need to get his teeth done and Im wondering does anyone know if that can be done without a twitch? Id really like to not have to put him through it again if there's any possible way to avoid it..
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post #2 of 6 Old 04-24-2012, 12:34 AM
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Never seen a vet twitch a horse for a float, either a hand float or a power float. A proper power float (the best method IMO) is done under sedation.
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post #3 of 6 Old 04-24-2012, 12:36 AM
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Shouldn't be a reason to use a twitch once sedated, only time I've seen a horse twitched for dental work is when not sedated. I've had a couple vets tell me via fear or anger a horse can fight off sedation.
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post #4 of 6 Old 04-24-2012, 12:53 AM
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Certainly sedation, rather than twitching. However you can also twitch the horse's neck, which I prefer if its for a very quick procedure.

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post #5 of 6 Old 04-24-2012, 01:35 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for the quick replies, Im relieved , I've been putting off getting his teeth done because I was worrying about the twitch!

I've only ever seen teeth done with a twitch but then that's been way out bush so not too many vets around! I will make sure they know when I book it that its got to be sedation instead.
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post #6 of 6 Old 04-24-2012, 01:36 PM
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There are various types of twitches. Lip twitch, ear twitch and shoulder twitch. Some people do use stud chains on the gums but I'm not sure if that method releases endorphins. Other wise, those other ones do. It also helps give the horse a little bit of a distraction. The key is to initially start the twitch slowly and then wait a minute or two for the endorphins to flow through the body. Once completed you need to also release it slowly as well as rub the area you twitched. You know the feeling you get when your leg falls asleep? Horses get the same feeling after being twitched and it isn't very pleasant. Might be the reason your horse dislikes it. You need to run that area to help the blood flow back into it. I would also suggest sedation.
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