While I was away last week, Richard O. Miller, DVM, Equine Dentist, came for his semi-annual three-day stint here at Equine Partners, Inc.
Salsa, as many of you know, is a rescue. We don’t know much about his previous 12 years of life. We can tell that he has starved, that he has been neglected, and that he doesn’t have a lot of experience in the whole “humans can be fun” arena. He’s still bracey and tense about us being on his right side, and reactive about Zone 5.
But he did great in his needle simulations and trailer loading, and he went to his dentist appointment like a responsible little pony.
The dentist and his techs then gathered around oohing and aahing with sorrow, as Salsa presented one of the worst mouths they’ve ever seen. Decay, hooks, chips, rot, ulcers — the poor guy has apparently not had dental care in years, if ever. Not even a quickie teeth float! They had to clip and file and extract and clean and I don’t even know what else.
It wasn’t nearly as expensive as it would have been for a human. Now that both Rocky and Salsa have had dental care I am a firm believer in getting a good dental specialist to take care of your horse’s mouth. Dr. Miller really helped Rocky in April, fixing a bad hook and an overbite that were causing anxiety, tenseness, and pain.
I can already see that Salsa is more cheerful now that his mouth is feeling so much better. In fact, today when I took Rock into the arena for what turned out to be a rather ridiculously unsuccessful session, Salsa was pawing at his gate and whinnying softly, clearing saying “I wanna play too!” (Yes, I went and got him after a while, and he explored every obstacle in a thorough search for treats.)
The dental people took a bunch of photos for posterity, and Erin got a couple of close-ups and emailed them to me. I haven’t even looked closely at them myself, but I’m putting them after this link, so you don’t have to see them if you don’t want to. I do not want to give anyone nightmares.
Salsa’s Before and After Dental Pictures
My PNH instructor once said, “A horse will do anything to compensate for an imbalance in his mouth or an imbalance in his feet.” I pay *very* close attention to both these areas.
Cricket was just seen by the equine dentist a month or so ago but sometimes she contorts her mouth when chewing (not always but often enough to cause notice) and I’m wondering if something’s happened in the last month. I’ll need to evaluate her head to see if it’s tooth or just her being weird.