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!