A Trip to the Equine Dentist

On Monday I took my 12-year-old mare Ella to the dentist to have her teeth floated. 

I trailered her to a friend's house, where several other people also brought their horses. Soon after Ella and I arrived the equine dentist and her assistant drove up and unloaded their gear.

The examination showed that Ella did have some dental issues. The rough spots on her molars had cut up the inside of her right cheek. So we prepared to have her teeth "floated."

The dentist said that all horses need their teeth floated regularly, whether we can see problems or not. 

Ella was given a shot to relax her, and an apparatus called a speculum was strapped over her head. The two metal plates of the speculum were "dialed" apart so that her mouth was held open. 

I've had my horses' teeth floated many times over the years, but this team used something I'd never seen before: they used a crutch under Ella's chin to keep her from leaning on the assistant. The horse leans on the crutch instead (or so the theory goes). It did seem to work.

Then the equine dentist went to work, filing Ella's teeth with several different tools, checking to feel the progress, and squirting water in Ella's mouth to rinse it out.

When the dentist was finished, she put one hand under Ella's chin, the other on top of her nose, and wiggled her upper and lower jaws back and forth to see if her teeth got "hung up."

Her teeth ground smoothly back and forth, and she was pronounced done.

Just in case you're interested in the inside of a horse's mouth, here is the jawbone of a horse (something the dog dragged home).

The front teeth are all that you see in a live horse's mouth, but this shows the molars further back.

A bridle's bit sits on the jaw between the front and back teeth. Sometimes a horse will have "wolf teeth" in this area, which a veterinarian can remove.

A horse's top jaw is wider than the lower jaw, and rough, sharp edges can develop on the inside of the lower teeth or on the outside of the upper teeth.

You can see some "peaks" and some sharp points on these back molars. An equine dentist files those down so the horse can eat more comfortably.

Ella should now be set for awhile. Hopefully she'll put on a little more weight, and she'll certainly be more comfortable when her cheek heals up where she cut it on those sharp teeth.

You can read more about horse's teeth here.

This post first appeared on OakHillHomestead.com on May 1, 2013


SubscribeFacebook | Instagram | Pinterest