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Re: equine dentistry

Sarah Metcalf DVM said:
>3. While credit should always be given to tactful and successful
>horsehandlers, I think it is a mistake to glorify the failure to use
>tranquilization for dentistry. I have the horse rest it's head on a padded
>headstand, and I want it to "sleep" comfortably through the procedure.
>Personally, I think that dentistry is FUN, and I try to convince both
>horse and owner to share this attitude; but realistically it is probably
>not  all that much "fun" for most horses. Keeping the horse relaxed and
>comfortable minimizes stress.

All of my horses have been done with the method outlined by Sarah.  I had just attended a seminar given by Sarah at last years PNER convention and had my vet arrive the following Monday to do 8 horses in the barn.  He did an excellent job according to Sarah's lecture...and all of them had sedation.  He gave them the drug, did the work...and by the time he was done, they were starting to wake up.  They are much less traumatized this way that just floating the teeth with no sedation.  (There's a reason that human patients want sedation before surgery...and the anesthesia docs often refer to it as the "I don't care" medicine.)  The horses went back to their stalls and quietly waited for their dinner...which they all ate voraciously!

One older lady in our barn did *not* want her horse sedated (she doesn't believe in that kind of stuff) so had her vet "just float" the geldings teeth.  (He's a feisty little Arab who did not want to stand still for the treatment.)  The poor vet did what he could but, because of the horse moving around and resisting the floating, he got some of his cheek and gum scraped...enough to have some bleeding and be sore enough to go off his feed for a couple of days.  I'm hoping that seeing our horses respond so well and have no soreness will help persuade her to go with the sedation and a better dentistry job next time.

Which reminds's almost that time again.  Sure wish Sarah wasn't on the other side of the state.  My vet has left the local clinic here so I will be trying out a new one for the spring to-do list. 


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