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In the theme of, get all of the maintenance work done before real training starts for the season, May saw the Dentist. Now, I originally was going to put this off a bit, as she wasn’t technically due. However, at May’s lameness eval, the vet stuck her hand in May’s mouth, gave me the hairy eyeball, and asked how long it’s been since she had been done… “Uh… about 8 months,” I managed to stammer.

You know… when the ground looked like this…

The vet gave me a strange look, stuck her hand back into May’s mouth and said, “Who did you use?” Of course, I couldn’t remember the name of the guy I used once… 8 months ago. She just shook her head and recommended I try someone different this time and get them done sooner, rather than later. Well… Ugh.

So, in true horse-mom fashion, May had a dentist appointment about 10 days later. I opted for someone that doesn’t sedate unless he has to. I know this is a controversial subject, so all I will say on it is that I have a horse that can be tricky to drug (due to her draft blood), and the horse had just been sedated 10 days prior. If you get your horse injected 2x a year and you do their teeth 2x a year by someone who automatically sedates, that means you are a sedating 4x a year. (you can try to combine the visits, but at the levels we drug May, she only stays “sedated” for about 30 – 45 minutes… not really enough for injections and a full teeth float). I have 0 evidence that this is bad for your horse, but I know all sedation comes with risks (again – especially with certain breeds), so I chose to try someone who doesn’t sedate.

The dentist was recommended by basically the entire barn, and he even showed up on time. It was a good start. He also gave me a weird look when he put his hands into my horse’s mouth… I had just gotten done telling him how she had been done 8 months ago, but that I didn’t think they did a good job. He clearly agreed with me. Although, he was surprised at how fat she was able to be “despite how bad her teeth were.” Not sure if that one was a compliment May… I told him that if she ever started really dropping weight, she’d be at a full blown clinic the next day. At least he laughed at that one.

Definitely no eating trouble here…

He was great though. He took the extra few minutes to get May comfortable, and he also took the time to educate me a bit. I have seen teeth being done many times on sedated horses and non sedated horses. I have spoken to many vets, equine dentists, barn mangers, horse owners, etc etc about teeth. I have looked into horse’s mouths, but this was the first time anyone actually took my hand, put it into my horse’s mouth, and showed me exactly where his concerns were. He ran my thumb over the issue areas, and showed me where to massage May’s face to check for any sensitivity. Then, when he was done, he went through the whole thing with me again, so that I could clearly feel the difference between right and wrong. It was a great moment in my education as a horse person.

I keep talking about her history, and I mention that, when I got her, she still had a wolf tooth on the left side. I gave myself a small, humble brag and talked about how I immediately had it removed. He, once again, gave me the hairy eyeball… oh what now!

“She still has a wolf tooth on the left side.” I stared at him, incredulous.

“What? I saw the tooth they pulled 3 years ago.”

“Well, there’s still one here. Can I take it out?”

“Yeah… of course.” I should probably mention here that this MADE SENSE. I have been struggling forever to get May onto my left rein when tracking right (aka – into the outside rein). This is not at all an issue going left, but it is nearly impossible going right. I was, of course, blaming myself. I figured that I was just better with my right hand because it’s my dominant hand. In reality, it’s a lot more likely that the wolf tooth was causing her pain.

So small… so annoying

The process was relatively quick, and as soon as it was over, May was visibly more comfortable (and totally ready to go back to her hay). Turns out, this was about half a wolf tooth… but enough to cause a problem. As the dentist rinsed off his tools, he said to me, “So for pleasure, companion animals, I only really recommend we do them ever year unless there’s a problem.” I blinked up at him for a second.

“Oh… actually… she’s my competition horse. We event.” Now, it was his turn to be shocked. I pulled out a picture of May jumping, and he took the phone from my hand, as if making sure it was the same horse.

“Well look at that, she really gets up there! If that’s the case, then I like to see them ever 6 months.” Sounded fair to me, and I feel a lot better knowing May is more comfortable now and being a bit more educated on the subject. Unfortunately, I haven’t really gotten to test out how she feels. I gave her the rest of the day off on Saturday, rode her really lightly on Sunday. On Monday, our dryer died and I had to meet the husband after work to pick up a new one, and then it decided to snow 5″ on Tuesday in KY…

Oh well, back at it tonight! Have you ever had any nasty surprises when you’ve had routine work done on your horse?

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  1. nadsnovik

    That’s crazy about the wolf tooth! So glad you had this guy come out..even if he was a little less sensitive about May’s weight…

    1. Emily

      The wild thing about KY is that everyone is used to seeing thoroughbreds everyday… and May is decidedly NOT a thoroughbred hahaha

  2. the_everything_pony

    OMG no more teeth haha! I am so over teeth especially since Amber’s extraction and then that giant bone piece. That’s what I immediately thought of when I read the dentist said she still had the wolf tooth. Oi lol. Well, I’m super glad that she was definitely more comfortable at the end! That’s all that’s important, and I bet she’ll be better your next ride 🙂

    1. Emily

      At one point, the dentist and I were joking about just how poorly horses are actually evolved to you know… survive. May’s diet is 99% forage… and she still has such issues.

      1. the_everything_pony

        Haha that is so so true lol. Amber has 99% forage too and yet….all these tooth problems lol although hers may not be food related lol

  3. Tucson Truby

    When we moved to PA, the first time the “dentist” checked Truby, he said she didn’t need to be done. Fair enough, it had been less than 6 months since my awesome vet had done her. Next year…same thing. Instead of being smart and getting a second opinion, I just went with it. 8 months later, when he checked her, he said “would you think I”m crazy if I said she didn’t need to be done?” to which I replied “I don’t think you’re crazy, I just think you’re wrong.”
    Called the guy I SHOULD have called from the get go, told him the story, and he went yeahhhhhhhhhh, she’s way overdue. I’m really glad you called me instead of listening to that idiot.
    Luckily we had no major problems, but damn, always listen to your gut. Or common sense. Glad May’s teeth are sorted out, and the rest of that wolf tooth is gone!

    1. Emily

      This is what happened basically! The guy came 8 months ago. Poked around. Said things looked ok. Worked on her for maybe 15 – 20 minutes and told me to call him in a year, “since she clearly doesn’t need to be done every 6 months”. LOL!

  4. eventerinprogress

    Evie had a blind wolf tooth that had fractured under the gum.

    That was an ordeal!

  5. martidoll123

    yikes poor May! Remus has never had sedation for dental work either, though to be fair somehow he was blessed with great teeth and only usually needs floating. (he gets checked yearly but again his teeth are pretty darn good I have had two experienced dentist tell me I should thank the stars for that) HA!

    1. Emily

      Luckily you! I think I could write a novel at this point about the adventures of trying to get this horse’s teeth in order.

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