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Monday, February 8, 2010

Dental care

Today I had Farley's teeth floated.
I mentioned to Dr. S that it's hard to get her body score to stay where I want it - 5.5, but it could be the work load since I had her teeth floated a year ago.....Last year when I had them floated, Dr. R told me that although she might not need to be floated in a year, I should still sedate her to check since they had really needed to be done and she wasn't comfortable correcting all that was wrong with Farley's mouth at once. 
Dr. S sedated her and popped open her mouth.  Wow!  They REALLY needed to be done....after only one year.  There was even some small ulcers forming in the back of her cheeks.
Now before anyone blasts the job that Dr. R did as totally inferior, let me say this: she let me feel before and after and she DID take off the points and there was a HUGE difference in the before and after.  Dr. R said there was a significant wave that she corrected - mostly.....which is one reason she recommended a very good recheck in 12 months.  Her front incisor bite was also.....interesting. 
I have no idea what dental care Farley had before I got her, but I get the feeling it wasn't a lot. 
I've been reading a lot lately (sorry - no references....bad Melinda!) that yearly teeth checks may not be enough for some horses.
While Dr. S was working on her today, he mentioned that he didn't think her jaw was totally symmetrical and younger horses' (Farley is 11) teeth are softer than older horses, which may contribute to the formation of points. 
My poor little horsey! 
Dr. S said that a recheck in 12 months should be sufficient, but I should plan on her needing a float. 
If, in 12 months, she has ulcers again, her next recheck will be in 6 months, rather than 12 (this is me talking, not the vet).  Ulcers (in my opinion) means that I've waiting too long to float the teeth. 
Apparently her mouth looked better this time, compared to last time, but this is little consolation if Farley was in pain when we rode for the last couple of months.  :(
Here's my lesson learned:  Unless a dental exam or float was performed less than 6 months ago, do not rule out dental pain if encountering resistance or reluctance to pick up contact. 
On a side note, my vet convinced me to give Platinum Performance another try.  I've decided to use it only in the 4 weeks before a 100 mile race and in the 2 weeks after.  When I used it before, I did not see any change, so after a year I discontinued using it.  However, my vet really believes in it, so, in the 2-3 times/year I do a 100 mile race, I'll give it another try.
AND - because I KNOW that someone is going to ask in the comments - my vet uses a combination of power and manual tools to do the floats.


  1. My vet had also recomended feeding PP to Hank. I fed it about 8 to 10 months, saw no change, and the odd thing was, his coat started looking worse. One of his other vets even commented on his coat. Thought that was very odd. Anyway, I also stopped feeding it. Be interesting if you see any benefit this time.

  2. My equine dentist has made a Believer of me: my horses get sedation and speculum every single year.

    With my older mare, it took years of gradual correction to fix years of neglect from previous owners.

    Fiddle's dental care started when she was five, so her yearly appointments now consist of sedation and small adjustments. Skip a year, and the adjustments would be not-so-small.

    I think of keeping teeth in good condition as being the same kind of activity as keeping feet in good condition: good regular care is a good investment in keeping my horse comfortable and sound.

  3. Phoenix feels Farley's pain! Gen used to get his teeth done every 6 month until he turned seems that his teeth stopped changing that fast and now he only gets them done once a year.

  4. I had Cheefy's teeth checked by a vet Dec 08, but by April and May 09 he was pulling on the bit in unusual ways and being totally not like himself.

    Visit to the vet, as I just knew something was wrong and it was - his teeth had points causing ulcers in his cheeks way high up. So from now on, I will have him checked more often - he was just checked again actually, and things looked good.

    So I learned that when a horse exhibits a behavioral problem that they didn't have before it could be teeth related.

  5. I'll let you know how the platinum experiment turns (for the second time).

    I temeber reading your post Karen, and wondering whether to have farley rechecked again. I will definatly be on the watch for any behavoirs that might signify pain in less than a year. I think the biggest thing I should have notices and taken action on was how hard a keeper she had become, even with a reduced workload an increased feed. It's one thing to struggle to keep good weight in the middle of the season, but when we are in the off season, it shouldn't be that hard! Especially because she has air fern tendancies. I thought it was just because the weather was so crappy that she was using the energy to stay warm.....hind sight is 20/20!


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