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Saturday, February 2, 2013

Dental Work - Horse-Style ... or ... Bruno's Dental Appointment

Bruno, the sweet, waiting for an early breakfast.

Mario is feeling the molars, to see what needs to be done.  Bruno, at this point, has been tranquillized, to make the appointment easier for all. 

This contraption looks like some medieval torture device, but essentially it is just  a piece of equipment to keep the horse's head steady, and mouth open and accessible.

Here's Mario, with his head-gear on, and the rasping tool in Bruno's mouth. The tool looks very much like a Dremel tool with a long handle. 

Mario is really getting into the job!

A close-up of the vet, working on the upper right molars.

The diagram on the upper right illustrates the horse skull, showing the dentition.   In each quadrant, a horse has three incisors, sometimes a canine or "tush" [depending on sex and breed] and six molars. They do a lot of grinding-type chewing on grass, so they need all those molars. It's the molars which do almost all the work, and need the dental attention. They tend to wear unevenly, and, as a result, develop sharp points and rough edges which would hurt the horse, if left untended. Leaving points on the teeth also results in the horse being unable to digest its food properly. So, depending on the horse, they need their teeth filed every six to twelve months. This allows them to eat happily, and comfortably carry a bit. Because Bruno appears to have had his jaw broken at least once in the past, resulting in some malocclusion, his teeth wear unevenly more quickly and need attention every six months. I've only had Bruno in my life for about four years, so I don't know all his history, but the vet and I can tell a bit by the wear and tear on is body - sad but true. But Mario and I were both happy to see that his teeth seem to be better than they have been in the past, probably because he is getting regular dental attention ... and TLC! :)

As always, your comments and questions are welcome! 

15 comments:

  1. Bruno is a good patient. :) I never realized horses had to have their teeth worked on too. Give him a Hug and save one, love,Diana

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  2. What a fascinating post, Kathryn, and I do agree about the mouth piece looking like a torture device! Perhaps he will be jumping for joy in the pasture once the dental procedures are done! However, with all your care, love and attention Bruno has surely forgotten the bad parts of his past. He is so beautiful - even tranquilized and showing his pink tongue!

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  3. Very interesting.
    I'm sure Bruno is now very happy with toi.Je wishes you happy ride whenever the weather permits.

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  4. Love him - I bet Bruno felt better for Mario's good work xx

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  5. Thank you Kathryn for this lovely and interesting information. I love the way you care for Bruno. He's a lovely and beautiful horse.
    Next wednesday I've got a dental appointment (not with a vet!). I hope it goes a little bit different:):)
    Have a nice day:)

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  6. Bruno will be eating better now. Good thing he has a conscientious dental hygienist for a mom!

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  7. Bruno is doing good!! I hope you are feeling better too. Not been able to keep up of late. I was sorry to hear about your illness. Take care and get well soon.

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  8. Bruno is really getting a workover--at least he didn't have to go through what I do the day before the dentist, (why did I ever make that appointment jitters). Love the illustrated information. Having just watched The Electric Horseman, I'm wondering about mustangs. Those horses must have a way to tend to their teeth or what happens to them on there on the plains?

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  9. Such a beautiful post, Kathryn!!!! You're a good Mommy to take care of Bruno so well!!!

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  10. Wow.. That is so interesting! I plan to have horses in a couple years.. and there is just so much to learn! You take excellent care of your horses Kathryn and your love for Bruno runs deep! He's a lucky boy! :) Jen

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  11. I had NO idea about horse's teeth and what they need to have done. Your explanation is so interesting and I learned a little more about horses! Bruno looked so patient besides having the painkiller.

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  12. I had no idea that horses had to have work done on their teeth as a matter of maintenance. Do they need to have teeth cleaning too? Your explanation of the process is great and I learned a little more about horses! Bruno looks so patient in the photos besides having the painkiller.

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  13. I tried to leave a comment here earlier on my phone and failed for some reason. I found this post awfully interesting - love the photos. One nagging question - wild horses have to suffer, then, because of their teeth?! (If there is such a thing, anymore, as wild horses).

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  14. I have fallen off more times than I care to admit in the past 18 months: Into arena walls, into a ditch (x2), into a corn field (that actually really hurt!), onto a dirt road…etc. I have also come close more than a handful of times and for some reason - have managed to stay on.click

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