In the Saddle: All smiles for the horse dentist
It’s the time of year for my horses that most of us dread-a visit to the dentist and horses are no exception.
Horses’ teeth are unlike ours in that the constantly erupt and grow, therefore may need help filing as we’ve changed the way our domestic horses forage and feed over the centuries.
Sharon Cooper (BAEDT, BEVA, BEDA) has been my horse dentist for years. She is fully qualified and fully insured, as well as being a member of the British Association of Equine Dental Technicians.
This year was the first time my young horse would be old enough to have a proper check on his teeth.
So far, my dentist has just checked him without the metal aid of a gag as he was too young. The gag helps to open their jaw and keep their mouth open.
Sharon gives all the horses an external face examination before she starts their check up. This consists of looking at their overall condition as well as checking for any lumps of swelling.
She then palpates the jaw for any swelling or soreness and incisor balance.
Once this is complete, a gag is gently attached, the the mouth is flushed with water before she checks for oral cavity, overlong teeth, decay, ulcers and any other abnormalities.
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She also uses her hand to check for sharp enamel points which may require a rasp.
I was a little worried how my youngster would accept the gag and the check up, including any filing.
Sharon was excellent and very patient, giving him little rests and talking him through the process which helped keep him calm along with me stroking his neck.
Sully was really brave and had two extractions of wobbly baby teeth, requiring no sedation. I’m so very proud.
I think the only thing Sharon is missing is handing out stickers.
I definitely want one next time Sharon.
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