Just Because He Is Fat, Doesn't = Good Dental Care ***Pics Added***
I've been going with Sean on farm calls lately because I've taken some time off work to enjoy the holidays. Of course, he NEVER takes time off, so if I want to see him, I have to go on farm calls. Lol
Anyway, I can't tell you how many owners I've heard say over the past few weeks "oh, he doesn't need his teeth floated, he's fat as a tick". WELL, let me tell you that means NOTHING! We were at a big barn recently and Sean was making his way through the herd saying this one needs done, this one can wait, this one needs done, etc. He came to a big gelding that did not want his mouth touched. The BO said "oh, he's fine, he's such an easy keeper, don't worry about him". Sean was about to turn him loose and thought better of it because of how the horse was acting. After a few seconds, Sean slid his hand in the mouth and his hand came out bloody. It was Sean's blood from cutting himself on a tooth! Now this happens on a semi-regular basis, so not a huge deal. It did, however, make him want to give the horse a better exam. Well, the poor horse had lacerations on his tongue and all thoughout his mouth. Some were old, some were healing, some were pretty darn fresh. Sean showed the BO what was going on in the mouth and she was amazed how good the horse looked because his mouth was so horrible...one of the worst Sean said he had seen in months. The horse was a riding horse, but everyone said he rode great - no head-tossing, no getting heavy, no indication there was a huge problem. The poor thing had been suffering for who-knows-how-long because he looked "good" so no one thought there was a problem and he was very stoic about his pain.
So anyway, this is a friendly reminder that horses under the age of 6 and over the age of 15 should be CHECKED (doesn't mean they need to be floated, but at least looked at) and horses 6 to 14 should be checked yearly unless there is a known problem.
Also, have the dentist SHOW YOU what is going on. Let him open up the horse's mouth and you look in with a head-lamp so you can SEE before and after (of course have him/her explain what you are looking at). Don't just let someone just say they did a good job and be on their merry way. Some dentists do a fantastic job up-front where the horse is "checked" and then don't touch the rear teeth. Be your horse's advocate! If you don't know something, ASK. If they are providing quality work, it should not be a problem from them to explain in detail what is going on in the horse's mouth and what they are doing about it.
OK, I'm getting off my soap-box. I was lucky enough to have two fantastic EqDT's that worked on my horses prior to Sean. After seeing some of the work that is performed out there, I feel very fortunate to have found them. Like many owners, I didn't know the difference between a quality job and a so-so job, but now that I know what to look for, I was very lucky they practiced in the area.