Thursday, March 10, 2011

Say Ahhhhh!

hola and toby - so proud of my boys...

Toby and Ollie had the dentist come out and float their teeth.  I used an equine dentist that was recommended to me by the barn owner.  What a great guy!  I swear he's a horse whisperer.

No tranq's were used and he filed using hand tools.  Toby had always been tranq'd and power tools were used for the filing.  Toby resisted it as much as possible under those conditions.  With our new dentist, he became more relaxed and I bet he felt better not having as many restrictions with his head.  The only manipulative tool that was used was a speculum which he released and took off often to help the horses comfort.  He talked in a comforting voice to my horses and he sympathized with Toby and his past experiences.  I think Toby understood that this guy wasn't going to hurt him. 

I hadn't thought about these things before but the dentist mentioned that the power tools will cause a tooth to get hot as they file it down.  It's also easy to file down too much at once which can cause mouth pain.  I recently had 6 fillings done and I was very understanding of mouth pain!  A horse, when tranq'd can't tell you when he's feeling pain.

So I was sold on the no tranq, hand tool method of equine dentistry.  Oddly, the next day at the feed store I saw an issue of Holistic Horse which was doing a special segment on equine dentistry.  It was a very good read!

Toby and Ollie have very similar mouths.  In fact they are almost exactly alike.  Both of them have the left side of their faces caved in a bit and their jaws are offline by about a 1/2 inch.  I've been diligent in having Toby's teeth worked on each year and it shows.  His mouth was in fairly good shape even though he had a few ulcers.  Ollie had some big hooks in his back teeth because his jaw goes up rather quickly.  We had the hooks filed down and the subsequent waves smoothed out.  Even though he's not "old" I'll have to keep up with his teeth too since he's out of alignment.  Once a year should be a good target.  

I haven't ridden them since they've had their teeth done (a week ago now) but I'm sure the bit will be a little more comfortable in their mouths. 

Tomorrow, Matt and I hope to shoot some foal pictures at a couple of farms.  Keep your fingers crossed for the sun to come out!  


  1. love the pic! the bay horses' expression is hilarious!

  2. My dentist uses muscle power too. Frankly I'm a little freaked out by the power tool users for the reasons you wrote. I'm glad your new place comes with a good dentist :)

  3. My dentist told me some other horror stories like the tongue or cheek getting caught in the power tool... I just couldn't get myself to mention that! YIKES! One incident left a high end dressage horse with a partially paralyzed tongue so it always hung out afterwards. No more power tools for my guys... but that last story was just the icing on the cake for me.

  4. I have always been a fan of hand tools and no tranq. Love the photo, btw.