‘Tis the Season… EQUINE DENTAL SPECIALS happen NOW! My vet came today.






It is the season for vets to hold their Dental Specials.

Maybe all of you know this already.  I didn’t… so, that’s why I’m telling you.

Usually, they do ‘2 for 1’… Or, they might say that ‘all sedation is free’.  If you have horses that are difficult to sedate, this would be good because sedation can get expensive!

I have no idea what you vet has going, but it would be worth a call.  Even if you are full for December, they usually honor the deal through January if you make the appointment this month.  Just make sure to ask.

Vets have Dental Specials because they want the business during the slow time of year.   In Spring and Summer, they are inundated with all the other kinds of calls.  So, better to get dentistry done when veterinarian dentists have lots of time to be patient and careful.

You want to make sure your equine dentist uses a stand so the horse can rest his chin.  Power tools are nice because they make things move along faster... but they can be jarring.

You want to make sure your equine dentist uses a stand so the horse can rest his chin (some just use a rope and hoist the head up – a bit harsh and the horse can be sore afterwards). Power tools are nice because they make things move along faster… but they can be jarring.  Less sedation is best.  Also, don’t jam the speculum in and open it wide – very stressful and the horse’s jaw hurts afterwards.

MAKE SURE YOU GET A VET WHO LIKES TO DO DENTISTRY…

My father was a dentist… I know it takes a certain ‘knack’ to understand how surfaces work together.  One has to be a bit engineeringlike and a bit gadgety.

So, make sure you find out which vet actually prefers dentistry.  Sure, they can all float teeth, but do they understand the mechanics and can they ‘see’ the issues?  I always ask them if they like doing it.

If they don’t give me a confident answer, I move on.

Also, your local teaching vet hospital might have even cheaper specials – but you might also get a student.  So, that’s up to you.

Anyway, it is rare to find an equine dentist who can do this without sedation.  So, the next best thing is to find one with sensitivity and patience – as well as knowhow.

Today, I had exactly that.  I have found a new, young vet who loves to do dentistry, is patient with the sedation (and the individuals in front of her), and also loves-on and talks to the horses like I do!

I lucked out!  She did a great job.

We did the older horses first so that the vet could make sure they recovered well.  Dodger (on right) is in his late 20s.  He was done today and recovered well.  He needed it.  He had ulcers in his cheeks from sharp teeth.   I'm so glad we did him...

We did the older horses first so that the vet could make sure they recovered well. Dodger (on right) is in his late 20s. He was done today and recovered well. He needed it. He had ulcers in his cheeks from sharp teeth. I’m so glad we did him…  (His tongue is sticking out by chance.  It wasn’t the dentistry.  I think he was licking his lips after drinking.)

THEY WORKED WITH THE FACILITIES WE HAD HERE

We did 6 horses today, but I only have 2 stalls in my barn – and MT lives in the aisleway.

We needed a space to do the work (set up the chin stand for the horse and the tools) and a recovery area (with absolutely no food available for them to choke )for a drowsy horse to stand around safely until fully back to normal.

Luckily, this vet knew MT from her stays at Loomis Basin Large Animal Hospital and was happy to see her – even if she was kinda in the way…  She was happy to work around MT, which was a relief for me.  I did move MT’s bed to the far back of the aisle, but MT did her share of walking around and sticking her nose into the going-ons.

I think MT was gloating.  Finally, SHE wasn’t the patient!

Anyway, we ended up using the small stall as the dental room and the large stall as the recovery room.  But, some horses recovered more slowly… so we then took over MT’s veranda and used that as a second recovery bay.  We had a rotation going that worked well!  No one had too much sedation (thank horsegods, I hate that).  Everyone recovered well and didn’t seem to hate me afterwards.  ;)

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Both Gwen and Bodhi were done today. This photo was taken after the vet left and both had recovered. Gwen had lots of sharp teeth so I was really glad to have done her, too! Bodhi is in the rear here, eating, as usual. They both recovered well.

WHY DO EQUINE DENTISTRY?

You’d be surprised how much a mouth can effect a horse’s mood.  After all, we don’t breed for the mouth… so who knows what is being passed down.

More concretely, if you horse wears a bit, do it…  Does your horse have wolf teeth?  Does he have sharp hooks and points that dig into his cheek while eating?  Is your horse a difficult keeper?  Skinny all of a sudden and it isn’t worms, sand or illness?   So you have older horses?

Although my horses haven’t had too many dramatic dental surprises, I have had some huge realizations.  For one, Slick… last year.   I had  him done because he was difficult to keep plump and that was unusual.  Long story short, his teeth needed help and now he is fat and happy.

So, today I made sure to check the eldest and anyone who seemed off their feed at all.  The vet checked the potential mouths and we ended up doing (gulp) 6.  But, I got the “Twofer” deal, so at least that took the sting out of it.

Remi was not too happy about the dentistry.  As a Mustang, she refused to let the sedation set-in so she ended up having more than the others.  She slept it off in this huge stall.  She is fine now.  Luckily we were able to do her.  She was in need.  I'm not sure if she had been done before I rescued her - doubt it.

Remi was not too happy about the dentistry. As a Mustang, she refused to let the sedation set-in so she ended up having more than the others. She slept it off in this huge stall. She is fine now. Luckily we were able to do her. She was in need. I’m not sure if she had been done before I rescued her – doubt it.

SO GO GET YOUR DEAL ON EQUINE DENTALS!

Call your vet or local equine hospital.  Make sure the vet likes to do dentals and is accomplished.  Know the terms up front.

If your horse wears a bit – do it.  Do it for the both of you.

I love this shot!  Wrigley (on right) was the first to be done today.  He recovered and then joined Finn, who was hysterical because BG was taken away for her turn.  Here they both are, watching me lead BG back up to them after she had recovered.  They missed her greatly.

I love this shot! Wrigley (on right) was the first to be done today. He recovered and then joined Finn (left), who was hysterical because BG had been taken away for her turn. Here they both are, watching me lead BG back up to them after she had recovered. They missed her greatly.

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3 comments have been posted...

  1. Seabiscute

    To my chagrin, I see that I left out a word in my post above — it should have read “This is very interesting — because it is NOT what I have always done.” But hopefully that was clear from the rest of it?

  2. dawndi Post author

    I WISH we could still have equine specialists in dentistry. But, they passed that law that is supposed to protect us… I don’t agree with it. We had some wonderful practitioners
    out here who did fine equine dentistry without sedation. California outlawed that in favor of the vets – only vets can give sedation. To be honest, I have written about fabulous
    and talented equine dental practitioners back East who don’t use sedation and the horses love them. But, not any out here, unfortunately. I don’t know why. Thank you for your comment. I wish I had what you have… but I am still lucky to have a dentist who really cares about the feelings and pain of the animals. Big plus.

  3. Seabiscute

    This is very interesting — because it is what I have always done. Here in Massachusetts, we have equine dentists — they are not veterinarians-who-also-do-dentistry, they are teeth specialists. My present barn has one come out twice a year to float teeth and do general dental checkups. Sedation is NOT the norm — only one of the 9 horses gets sedated (because he would not allow treatment otherwise).

    It is no big deal for anyone else, and we do have a range of personalities, from Percheron to Thoroughbred to very princessy Appendix (mine is a bratty Morgan, who gets twitched for shots but nothing for the dentist).

    It takes place in a stall (the horses live outside 24-7 so going into a stall may be the most significant aspect of it!). The owner can hold her haltered horse if she wants to, but they are quite relaxed about it all. I believe power tools are available, but manual floating is all mine have needed to date. Occasional eye-rolling about the noise/vibration of filing, but nobody needs much calming down or restraint.

    I know in some states the vet lobby has tried to eliminate the professional equine dentists, is that the situation in California — that you do not have a choice?

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