Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Dental and Vaccines

Last night was a new experience for me. Ashke got his teeth floated. When I was young, teeth floating involved a rasp and much pain and fear. It didn't happen often and not with any of the horses I personally owned. So, last night was a first for both Ashke and myself. It was interesting and pretty involved.

First, the vet (JD) gave Ashke a tranquilizer. It made him pretty dopey and he swayed a couple of times. I was required to shake his halter and lift his head if the sway got to be too much. I had to do this a couple of times. Then JD put the horse mouth speculum into Ashke's mouth. (JD told me it was a speculum and asked if I knew what that was - which is a pretty silly thing to ask any woman over the age of fifteen, IMO). He fitted the speculum into Ashke's mouth and braced it open, which looked like this:
Except that's not Ashke and he was a lot more doped than that. JD rinsed his mouth out a lot and then felt the edges of his teeth. He showed me where the edges of Ashke's teeth were causing sores in his cheeks and where he had chipped a tooth biting on the bit. He showed me Ashke's canines and said he would round them off so he couldn't accidentally bit his tongue. Then JD was ready to work.

First we put Ashke's head on something like this, minus the fancy box of tools at the bottom. It was a rack for resting his lower jaw on and put his mouth at the right height for JD to do his work.

I had to grasp the lead rope and the stand in one hand and the side of Ashke's halter in the other and keep him still. JD warned me about Ashke possibly throwing his head sideways and crashing my face with the large metal contraption stuck in his mouth. Luckily, that didn't happen. Then JD strapped on a device that was a combination of a large Dremel tool and small vacuum rolled into one. JD slid the long metal bar holding the Dremel spinning file tool and small vacuum inth Ashke's mouth and started to sand the sharp edges off his teeth. Ashke was slightly alarmed and no longer in danger of listing to one side or the other. He, however, listened to the command to "hoh" and stood still for me. JD sanded and grinded and then changed to the hand float and rasped away, several times on both sides of the teeth until there were no sharp edges. He then did the rounding on the front two molars (called a bit set) so Ashke could no longer hurt his teeth when he had a bit in his mouth. JD was moving Ashke's tongue around, showing me stuff and complementing us both on how well we were doing.

Next JD did the rounding on the canines, making them smooth and unable to puncture Ashke's tongue in the case that he accidentally bit himself. Finally, JD smoothed out the chip in Ashke's front tooth, which I think is the reason he can't bite into an apple. I think that tooth is sensitive.

It was so funny when JD finished with the speculum and pulled it out of Ashke's mouth. Ashke dropped his head and blew hard. I pretty much felt the same way.

Afterwards, JD gave him another shot for infection from the teeth float, then administered his vaccines. Ashke got a little tense with the shots in his neck, since he was waking up by that time, but he handled it well. Ashke got a little grazing in for his good behavior, then was bedded into his stall with hay and treats.

All in all, we both handled it as well as we could have. The process was fascinating, but I'm just as happy that we don't have to do it again for a couple of years. I figured his teeth might have issues when I first saw him and think that they might have something to do with why Ashke eats so slow. We will see how things change for him going forward.

JD said that he could tell how intelligent Ashke is and how interested he was in what was going on, not fighting the process, and how impressed he was that he didn't have to give Ashke a second dose of the trank. My boy is pretty darn smart, that's for sure.

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