May 26, 2010
Today I took the morning off work so I could be there when Cookie got her teeth floated. Horses, like many animals, have teeth that grow continuously through most of their lives, and are ground down slowly over time as they eat. In a perfect mouth, they grind evenly, but more often than not, they wear down more in some spots than others, eventually making the taller bits into sharp hooks that catch on the tongue and insides of the cheeks.
Dr. Clabaugh (seriously, click that link and scroll down, she has the freaking bad-assest bio in history; I wish I had had more time to talk with her) was super sweet and fawned over Cookie -- always a bonus in my book, like somebody complimenting your kid. ("I'm a sucker for buckskins. You know, I'd like to think I'm beyond color, but she is just so cute. Look at those ears! I've never seen ear markings like that.") She had to give Cookie two doses of sedative, because after the first one she still pretty much looked like this:
.. and therefore not nearly sleepy/drunky enough. The second dose worked much better, though. It was simultaneously hilarious and sad to see my horse dosed up like that. Kind of like seeing someone you love really, obliteratingly drunk. Thank god horses can't read blogs because I'm about to show the internet how sad she looked.
Getting the speculum on:
having a hard time holding her head up (she hadn't been propped up yet); tongue lolling:
Once she was all set up, we took a look. I got to see the ulcers she had on both sides of her cheeks from where she had rubbed/bitten them; her hooks weren't too bad but she had a "ramp" on her back molar -- it was worn down in the front but not the back -- that Dr. Clabaugh told me would be making it more painful for her to bend at the poll: in other words, making it unpleasant for her to keep her head in the appropriate place while I'm riding. She also still had her wolf teeth, small pre-molars not unlike human baby teeth, which bang on the bit and can be uncomfortable. We decided that in addition to the float, Dr. Clabaugh would also extract those two teeth. Ouch!
world's scariest dental drill:
Fortunately for my wallet, one of the wolf teeth popped loose as she was filing the others. The $25 I would have spent on that tooth would have put the vet bill over $300. Thanks, tooth!
my camera sucks, but I wanted to get an action shot of the drill. (Or maybe just a sound clip). I should mention at this point that I did sheepishly apologize to the dentist for being a crazy horse mom. "Are you kidding? We get this all the time."
The whole process took about forty-five minutes. Not so bad. Cookie was so sedated she needed help walking to her stall. It's hard enough when your 150-pound friend needs help; imagine your 900-pound horse?
She was staggering. It was hilarious.
She got a round of vaccines (unrelated to the float) and we tucked her in. She supposedly would be more awake and alert in about 30 minutes. (I had to go to work, so I couldn't hang around & find out). I gave her some pats I'm sure she couldn't feel. Sleepy mare!
I mean, look at this face. This is the face of your friend at 3 AM just before she passes out fully clothed in the bathtub. She had to lean her head against the wall. She couldn't even move. So cute/sad.
It'll be a few days before I can ride again, since her mouth will be healing from the extractions. I REALLY can't wait to see if the work changes how she carries her head. One of her chronic problems is head tossing/fussiness, so I'm really hoping the dental work makes her head carriage more consistent. And I'm glad, of course, that she won't be rubbing the insides of her cheeks off every time she eats anything.