Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Things I wish I knew

The Quarters got their teeth floated yesterday. The vet I was having do their teeth is no longer traveling to my area so I had to look for local recommendations to find a replacement. I got one for a woman who is not a vet and all she does is teeth. I figured that someone who concentrates solely on teeth would probably be better than a general vet who just kinda "also does teeth."

Might be the best decision I ever made for my horses.

Comes out ex-dentist really wasn't doing a good job at all. My poor handsome boy, his teeth were so bad his jaw was literally locked up. She explained to me that when horses put their heads up, their jaw drops back; head down and the jaw slides forward; when the head moves from side-to-side the jaw also moves to compensate. Except his didn't: his teeth wouldn't let it.

"So that explains why I've been having such a hard time trying to get him to stretch into contact?" I asked.

"Yup," she said. "He literally couldn't do it."

Hoo boy, it was simultaneously vindicating and horrifying. It means I am not the worst rider in the world but now I feel like the worst horse owner in the world for not knowing his mouth was in such bad shape.

Gwen's mouth was better, but that's not saying much. I did decide to get her wolf teeth pulled. The dentist said the roots of wolf teeth dissolve away and fall out on their own when the horse is in their early teens, which would mean that Gwen had a time bomb in her mouth. I would not want to be sitting on her when one of those teeth worked loose, she's enough of a handful already thanks.

Gwen's wolf teeth, don't look like much do they?
Ugh, poor Handsome had to wait until he was almost 14 years old to get his teeth fixed. I feel terrible about that. This is why I share as much hoof knowledge as I can, so that owners have another resource to keep tabs on their horse's health and hopeful catch problems before they get too bad. Seems I have some learnin' about teeth to do.