So finally the day came when the vet was going to come out and float the horse’s teeth. I was pretty worried that it wouldn’t go so well. I shouldn’t have; it all went fine. I underestimated the power of sedation.
Dr. Gillis, of AMC, wanted to start with Barbie because her teeth were worse. By worse, I mean a lot worse. We didn’t get around to Chocolate because it took longer than he thought, and he had other appointments.
For those of you that don’t know, tooth floating is the act of grind a horse’s teeth smooth. A horse’s teeth never stop growing. They wear them out unevenly, creating bumps and dips in their teeth. When the teeth aren’t smooth, the horse can’t chew properly. Barbie really needed to have her teeth done; her droppings were looking unprocessed, and as soon as we scheduled an appointment, I started noticing she was losing weight. Really fast. I was feeding her a lot, too. That is a sign that she can’t chew her food properly, and is being passed through without her body taking in the nutrients it needs.
First he gave Barbie a tiny sedation shot. It was nearly instant; I was holding her lead rope, and she started to sway around, barely keeping from falling over. She splayed her legs and finally was able to plant herself firmly to the ground.
Then Dr. Gillis put on the mouth gag, which holds her mouth open. He slung a collar with a rope over the rafters that her head rests on, to keep her head up. Otherwise, she would have kept her head really low to the ground, she was so tired. A towel was thrown over her eyes, just so she could stay calm.
He showed us what was wrong with her teeth. It is rather hard to see, but I can feel what he means when I reach my hand in. Many pointy teeth, and even a missing tooth, must make it hard to chew at all. Dr. Gillis’s guess was that she had never had her teeth floated.
The tool that he uses is basically an electric file that he uses to smooth out her teeth. She spooked at first. They (the vet and the vet tech) had to give her more sedative because the first time they didn’t give her a full dose.
It took quite a long time to get all those points smooth out. The vet used a hand rasp to get it down just to where it needed to be, and then we were done! I really shouldn’t have worried at all. I was allowed to reach my hand in and feel the difference.
After the vet left, I sat with Barbie until the sedative wore off. It took about 45 minutes for her to come around all the way. She slept most of the time, not noticing anything around her.
So now I am hoping she gains the weight that she needs back quickly, because she is very skinny now, poor thing. She is still a little scruffy in the pictures; you can’t tell that she is skinny unless you run your hand along her belly.