On Wednesday, we had a visit from our vet Miles to do routine dentals on Chasseur and Sunsmart. (Julian had recently been done and Romeo is past being able to be done.) We switched over to this veterinarian in the past year after our previous good horse vets left the area, and are happy that he is excellent with horses. In the past, our horses had always been done with the old-fashioned hand rasp and mouth gag setup. Not this time!
This was our introduction to high-tech equine dentistry, involving a portable crush, a shot of tranquillizer, power dental tools, water jets for rinsing, and some creative head restraining with an additional overhead halter. Sort of like this:
I wish I could have got a photo. The mobile crush was very impressive, it just hinged off the back of a trailer. The horses, loose in the same yard area, were going, "How did that
get here? That wasn't here before!"
I found it interesting to see the power dental tool in use. It was like a cordless drill body with a long attachment, with a smallish oval vibrating rasp at the end. It does a great, quick, very targeted job but you can see why the tranquillizer is an essential partner. The noises are a bit unsettling!
Once the molars were done, even the incisors got a going over to remove hooks. To do this, a large-bore plastic tube was inserted in the mouth sideways in the diastema, to keep the tongue out of harm's way. In the traditional hand-held method, noone had bothered with incisors. This looked like the most uncomfortable bit for the horse.
The two darlings took a while to recover from their temporary intoxication afterwards, but their tooth function and comfort is excellent again. The carrot test is a good indicator - can they handle a whole carrot without dropping bits from their mouths? Chasseur, at age 24.5, had been having trouble with that test, and is now fully functioning again in that department.
The horses love the carrot test.