02 July 2010

Never Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth....or a Day with the Dentist!

~Tuesday morning~
Dr G. arrived on time.

We love Dr. G!
She is kind, loving, and the horses do not fear her~
at all!
Dr. G treats us and them with such respect.

I always say that a Veterinarian,
whether it be small or large animals they treat,
is more like a Pediatrician.
Because for most of us, our animals are our children!
Half of treating the patient is calming
the fears or unknown of the parent/owner :)

~Dr. G has the touch~

When she arrived, everyone was excited to have a visitor!
***The barn was all a chatter***
(or the way I see it in my own little mind!)

Miss D leaned toward her mother Allure, and asked,
"Why do you think she is here?"

Allure raised her brow.
"Miss D, my darling daughter, is there
something you would like to share?"

"Wwwhat? You mean?
Another foal?" 
Miss D shook her head.
"Absolutely not!"

At the other end of the barn,
Princess Allegra snickered....

She walked over to
Little Miss Annie,
who was listening intently!

"Seems Dr. G is here to see your Mom!"
I think another foal is on the way, to take your place!"

Annie's little muzzle began to quiver,
a tear ran down her soft cheek...
"I'm the baby", Annie stuttered.
After overhearing this conversation, I quickly
put an end to the gossip.
I reassured Annie that she is and always will be
The Baby!

And then I let everyone know Dr.G was here today
because it was Dentist Day!

And then I let Allegra know that
she would be seeing Dr. G first!

And Annie smiled....


Dr. G set all of her dental equipment out,
and we readied an empty stall to use as the "clinic"!

Picture of the Swiss Float

Dr. G uses a Swissfloat 
(the best on the market!) as the dental tool
to remove any hooks or sharp edges, which over
time develop on their teeth!
It is basically a round grinding disc.

Allegra getting a light sedative.
Each of the mares were sedated.

The actual dental procedure is
not painful to them!

Horses do not have nerves in their teeth like we do!

The nerve is in the pulp.
Therefore, you must use a Vet
or Certified Equine Dental Tech
to do your horses teeth in this manner!
Should the grinder not be used in a proper manner
and the pulp exposed in the grinding,
the horse would experience
incredible, unnecessary pain!

Even sedated, Allegra was having nothing
to do with the speculum being put into her mouth!
(I bet she was thinking...I will never tease
baby Annie again!)

Finally, she relented.
Sedation is necessary for several reasons.

Keeping the horse safe.
Keeping the handler safe.
Keeping the Vet safe.

*In no way is the horse being mistreated.*

The Speculum is connected to a leather halter.
Can you see the large hook connected by a leather piece,
and held by a long piece of lead line rope?

Should the horse suddenly decide they want out of there,
and be unable to calmed, it is the job of the handler,
J in this case, to unlatch the hook!

Again, keeping horse, vet, and handler safe
must be kept in mind during the entire procedure!

Allegra had a very long "Hook" on one back tooth.
It was beginning to affect her grinding her food,
and needed to be removed.
In the second picture following, you can see a Hook.

Cheek Teeth

The cheek teeth do not always wear away evenly resulting in the formation of hooks and points. These hooks and points can cut into the tongue and cheek causing great discomfort to the animal. To avoid this, horses need to have their teeth ground down  periodically - a procedure called "floating".
A "Hook" can cause the animal much pain!

Because of the anatomy of the horse's teeth. The upper cheek teeth (molars and premolars) are set wider apart than the lower cheek teeth.
There is very little overlap of the chewing surfaces, at rest, and there would be little contact of the chewing surfaces if the horse chewed up and down, like people do. Horses have to chew side to side to get good occlusion or contact with upper and lower cheek teeth. Horses can chew only one side on the mouth at a time!

Allure is an old pro at having her teeth floated.
Remember, she is an older lady, age 26, and does have
some leg issues.
***When a horse is sedated, they "Lock" their knees,
the same as they do when they sleep standing up!***

This was the first time she has been sedated
that she could not lock both her knees.
Her left knee really really gives her fits.
So, J was her left knee!

He literally kept her from going down.
She leaned all her weight into him.

Bless her heart!
Bless him for being able to assist her!

I scheduled this appointment, when I knew J would be
on summer break from school!
Good thing!

Miss D was an old hat with this!
She even dozed off after the sedative was given!

J just had to lean against the stall wall "in case".
Miss D was a peach!
After her procedure was over, she went back to her stall,
layed down, and snoozed for an hour!

All three were allowed to have water only for one hour.
No hay until they were wide awake, for fear of choking!

All three mares were up and wide awake in an hour!
They finished the day by spending it outside,
overcast and cloudy it was :)
I do believe they were as happy as we were,
the Sun took a break for the day!


You may be wondering about Annie and Cadence....

A horse's incisors, premolars, and molars, once fully developed, continue to erupt as the grinding surface is worn down through chewing.
A young adult horse will have teeth which are 4.5-5 inches long, but the majority of the crown remaining below the gum line in the dental socket.
The rest of the tooth will slowly emerge from the jaw, erupting about 1/8" each year, as the horse ages. When the animal reaches old age, the crowns of the teeth are very short and the teeth are often lost altogether.

  Cadence no longer has any teeth left to grind.
After growing 1/8 inch per year, his teeth have finished
the "cycle".
He has not needed any extractions, so he still has his full set.
But, they are very close to the gum line, since they are longer growing!

*Wouldn't be neat if human teeth grew like this?
Our teeth would grow a little each year, and if we broke
a tooth, it could filed smooth, and we would know
that eventually it would be a whole tooth again!*

The big 'ol smile Cadence gave when I told him
he did not have to see the dentist!
  Cadence was right across the hall from the "dental clinic".
He got to watch everything!
I think secretly he was laughing at "his girls"
and glad his days of dental work are over!

Horses under 5 years of age go through some very typical dental changes.
A good rule of thumb with foals is their Milk Teeth, or deciduous (baby) teeth,
 erupt, or come in, following a simple timetable of
8 days, 8 weeks and 8 months.
                         A horse does not have their full set of adult teeth until they are 5-6 years of age!

I hope you enjoyed your day with the Equine dentist!
***Remember to have your horses' teeth checked
every 6 months!
They may not need any dental procedure at all.
The last time the "kids" needed any work done
was three years ago!***

***The common folk saying "don't look a gift horse in the mouth" is taken from the era when gifting horses was common. The teeth of horses are a good indication of the age of the animal, and it was considered rude to inspect the teeth of a gifted animal as you would one that you were purchasing. The saying is used in reference to being an ungrateful gift receiver!***

And remember~
Never look a Gift Horse in the mouth!

~Wonderful day to you all~


In the coming days I will be posting a new video of the
"kids" at end of the day, snack time!

And coming next week,
Sandra, from Thistle Cove Farm!

I hope you will join us!


Julie Harward said...

All of this is so amazing! I have had the vet come and work on my horses teeth but never this. I bet is was costly..what a profession that would be! Thanks for sharing such an amazing to me, thing! :D

Betsy from Tennessee said...

How interesting, Misha.... I LOVED reading about the horses seeing the dentist. This is absolutely something I have never seen before... It was just so interesting. Thanks so much for sharing!!! I learn from YOU.

Have a great 4th of July. God Bless America.

Ann On and On... said...

What an experience.... Coming here is a great way to learn not only about horses, but the care that is needed. Thanks for sharing.

Andrea said...

Praising GOD you have an awesome Vet. You are soooooo right! Not just any ole vet is gonna touch my babies! I drive by two vets to get to mine.

Maura @ Lilac Lane Cottage said...

Hi Misha, what a wonderful post. My little Arabian never had any problems with his teeth...he was 5 when I got him. That's quite the procedure they go through...poor things but then they don't seem to mind too much with that sedative. I think that's cute that some of them go and lay down for a nap for a while. Thanks for sharing this with us...I found it very interesting...we should all be so lucky to have a vet like yours!! Have a wonderful Friday...Maura:)

from my front porch... said...

It is quite a procedure, Maura! But, the speculum to hold open their mouths makes it so much easier.

I would love to be sedated for every dental appt I go to! LOL!

Making sure a horses mouth is taken care of is just as important as their feet.

Signs a horse may need dental work are-dropping feed as they eat, weight loss, tilting the head to one side etc.
A horse can lose up to 100lbs. in one week! And something as easy as sore tooth could be the reason!

Thanks so much for stopping by!
xo, misha

Donna said...

How interesting ... I learn something new everyday! I have never seen this procedure done and I am not so sure I would want this job! I would want to sedate the horse too! Cadence is a hoot in the picture showing his teeth :)
Love your posts!

The Cedar Shingled Barn said...

Thanks for showing this post! I loved learning something new. I am joining your blog today. Love it.


Sandra said...

God bless J and the dentist; how fascinating to see how the horses acted and reacted. Great post, Misha!

Feral Female said...

Very informative post Misha!

Deb said...

Gosh, that was interesting and
fascinating! I always learn something when I visit you. The dentist would have a hard time getting that contraption on my head too. I think I'll ask for sedation the next time I go to the dentist. Have a great Holiday weekend!

怡潔怡潔 said...
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Flat Creek Farm said...

Misha, this was great! I had always wondered what went on with the equine dental visit. And your narrative at the beginning was so very cute ;) Fabulous pics also. Hope you are feeling MUCH better, my friend. Been thinking about ya! -Tammy

Kathy in KY said...

Hi Misha - I really enjoyed your post today about the horse dental work. I've never seen any of that before, and hadn't even considered it as a procedure, but with your explanation, it makes so much sense, and is such a necessity. I hope you have a great 4th of July weekend. And I look forward to seeing Sandra over here, I also follow her blog, and enjoy it very much. Thanks for the most interesting post. Take care, from KY.

Merri said...

Stormy had much-needed dental work done in February. Since then he's looking much better, and the sores in his gums are gone. However, he might still run away next time he sees the dental trailer...
- The Equestrian Vagabond

Donna said...

What a wealth of information! I had no idea it was all so complicated. Gosh, I don't know that our former next door horse neighbors ever got such essential treatment.

Golden To Silver Val said...

Thank you for this very interesting post. Such lucky horses to be cared for so well!!
I'm sorry about that link that inserted itself to your post. I don't know how to stop it from doing that and it doesn't always do it. Please just delete it. thank you. Hope your holiday created some happy memories for you.

Aunt D said...

OMG - my dentist appt is next week.
Aunt D

Mom said...

Hi Misha,
This is my first comment!
Love your blog so much. Good way to keep up with you and J.
Hope you guys had a good 4th. Aunt D and Uncle J are here and we had a great 4th ... lots of fantastic fireworks in our neighborhood. When is your next dentist appointment?
Love, Mom

''THE RAMPANT COLT'' said...

This is my first message to Misha.

The Rampant Colt

Jeanette said...

Thanks for another informative, interesting and fun post, Misha! Always look forward to them!

Rural Revival said...

What an interesting and informative post! Thank goodness for J being there indeed and Dr G, I do believe is a godsend for all of your kids! So glad you found her!

Oh, hello there! I miss you too!!!!!!!!!!! : )

Must email tonight. I must, I must!
Hugs! ~Andrea~

Old Centennial Farmhouse said...

I enjoyed this well-put together and informative post...I never KNEW! But when you think about it, the teeth are probably the gateway to the horses' health! That dentist looks in great shape from this work that I'm sure sometimes is really HARD!

Love your blog, Misha!

陳登陽 said...
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cindy said...

Wow! What a day everyone had. Never thought about a horse needing a dentist!!

Lynn Richards said...
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Heart2Heart said...


Again, something new I never learned before. Thank you for sharing this with all of us, and just another thing to consider before deciding to buy a horse.

There is so much more than the eye can see.

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

育隆 said...
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Cheryl said...

Great post! I love the barn "gossip"! Great photos.

Harriet said...

It is so nice reading about people and their experiences with their horses! This was really detailed too and great pictures! I've recently decided to get a Horse Speculum myself as my horse takes to it ok and the vet has suggested I should routinely check the horses mouth!

Alisha @ Crafty Brooklyn Army Wife said...

Hi Misha,

How are you? I hope all is well. I love all the information you provided for floating. When my family and I used to own horses, I was too young to understand the procedure.

Thank you for explaining.

All my best,
Alisha xo