About a year and a half ago, our horse vet had given my gal Izzy a dental check up. I have only had Iz for about 4 years and I still believe she is the perfect horse for me. We were a bit disappointed, though, about the news from her mouth. Apparently she’d had some breakage in the back that we were instructed to keep an eye on.
So this past month when Iz was being temperamental for riding and irritable being handled, I started to watch her more closely while she dined. I observed her over a couple of weeks to be sure of what I was noticing and also to see if there were any changes.
Sure enough, she was extending her bottom jaw out and to the left when she would chew, favoring the right top and back of her mouth for crunching. And sure enough, the behavior was more frequent by the end of the second week than when I’d first started observing her.
Time to call the vet.
Dr. Shannon came out to the farm on Halloween and gave her a sedative. We put her head in a makeshift sling and then Shannon used her special horse dental harness to keep Izzy’s mouth wide and open while she performed the examination and treatment.
Horses under sedatives are always fascinating subjects to me. It’s a bit of a thrill to watch them. They’re just so big and you wonder if those four legs are going to go out from under them, but they don’t. I absolutely love to assist, reassuring my girl, snuggling her velvety winter coat, sighing with her while she patiently has her teeth floated.
The tool that the doctor uses is a “power float” and it’s basically an amped up file which she smooths all of the sharp surfaces of the teeth with. Izzy had two cracked molars in the back and a piece out of one of them. This had created sharp edges that Dr. Shannon filed down. There were no new issues from the previous trouble spots. The teeth were not loose at all, so we’ll keep an eye on her to make sure things stay the same. If the teeth become loose and there is any decay or infection, she’ll likely develop some sinus discharge, possible behavior changes…symptoms that you or I might have if we have rotting teeth.
Dr. Shannon suggested she may have bitten a rock, or something larger such as a stick, to have cracked two molars. I shudder to think of her grazing and picking up a rock, biting down on it and cracking her teeth. Shucks, if you’re gonna suffer, might as well have made it worthwhile and gotten something tasty for it. Husband Jim was blaming it on my habit of lavishing the herd with peppermint treats. They’re sort of soft, disolvable candies, not quite jawbreakers, but I appreciate him taking an interest in their health, at least.
A couple of hours later, Izzy was safe in her stall, sleeping off her meds while Char & I joined in the merriment in nearby North Bennington. Every year the Vermont Arts Exchange hosts a community wide Halloween parade and bonfire and all tall small young old and in-between show up for a load of fun. I repeated my Mary Poppins outfit this year in the interest of not much time to prepare as well as the rain in the forecast. Char was a “Reveurs”, a character out of Erin Morgenstern‘s fantasy novel, “The Night Circus” and it was much fun putting her together.
We paraded for about an hour and a half, visited with friends and neighbors and then went home to carve pumpkins, drink hot cider and call it an early evening. No trick-or-treaters, as usual, and if you’ve read my past posts, you’ll understand that there are still plenty of toothbrushes left over.
Happy November. Go floss.