Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A To Z - T is for Teeth

For today's A to Z post, T is for Teeth!  Horse teeth that is!  The horse in these pictures is my Friesian/Arabian gelding Chrome.  This is from the last time he went to the dentist.  He hasn't had them done yet this year so I'll use these old pictures.

Horse's teeth grow for their entire lives because they are grazing animals and wear their teeth down.  Unfortunately horses can wear them unevenly which causes sharp points and hooks that can cause sores in their mouths.  They can also have retained caps (baby teeth), broken teeth, etc. so they have to go to the dentist every year (or more often if they have problems).

So check out these pictures of Chrome getting his teeth floated (basically means having the sharp points filed down).

Some dentists give sedatives, but other dentists don't use it especially if they use a manual file instead of power tools.  Chrome's dentist used power tools so he sedated him.  In the above pictures Chrome is standing in stocks which is basically a metal stall that keeps them from moving around too much.  It can also be used for cleaning wounds on legs without the vet being at risk of being kicked.

Now the dentist checks his teeth.  Chrome had two baby caps that didn't release when his adult teeth came in.

Then we put on the speculum which keeps the horse's mouth open while his teeth are being filed.

See how the speculum is holding his mouth open?  Then he puts the head harness on to elevate his head so the dentist can see into his mouth.

Here one of the vet techs was showing a kitten to Chrome, but it shows how the harness holds his head up.

Then the dentist uses either a manual file or a power file like the one in the picture to smooth down the teeth.  He even let me feel his teeth when it was done.  :)  After it's all done all of the contraptions are taken off and he's allowed to stand until he comes out of the sedation.  Then we load up and go home.  :)

Here are the caps and teeth that were pulled.  Horses have to have their wolf teeth pulled because they are in front of the molars and may interfere with the bit.  They also have shallow roots and are fragile so they are easy to break or damage.  It's best to just take them out as soon as possible.  Chrome ate that night like he wasn't in pain so having them pulled couldn't be too bad.

Anyway that is really only scraping the surface of information about equine (horse) dentistry, but I thought you might find it interesting.  :D  I can't wait to see what you guys chose for T!


  1. I loved your take on horse dentistry. I write westerns, so horses fascinate me. I have not had the good fortune to care for my own horse yet. Hope to read more. Good luck with the A-Z!

  2. I'm very familiar with this since I used to work on a ranch. I've always loved seeing the horses slightly sedated. Their droopy heads made me want to just hug them. We got pretty lucky with our minis. Most of the time, the dentist didn't need to sedate them.


  3. This is so funny, but you you have to feel sorry for him, too! I don't have horses of my own, but my sister has had them as long as I can remember. Her vet uses a tripod-type thing to prop the horse's head up while doing the dental work. I was curious to watch one time, and he put me to work - I never thought I'd have to grab a horse's tongue and hold it out of the way for someone!

    Chrome is a pretty boy!


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