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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by SLW View Post
    First thing I would do is see what sedation options are out there that you haven't tried. There might not be any but make sure.

    Second, for 10 years I worked for an equine vet and when a horse blows up in the stocks by going up or down it's a frigging mess. The horse survives but it isn't pretty- especially with the horse cross tied. We had a couple clients horses that had to be dropped for dentals and that worked out very well. It cost a little more to drop them but the trade off is they are damaged or broken at the end of the dental.

    Good luck.
    This. There is no way I would restrain a potential hysterical panicky horse in stocks.
    I wasn't always a Smurf
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  2. #22
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    Nov. 22, 2007
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    A horse cannot go up or down in a properly constructed set of stocks.

    Unfortunately a well made set of stocks is as rare as hens teeth.


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  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by carolprudm View Post
    This. There is no way I would restrain a potential hysterical panicky horse in stocks.
    I stopped working at that clinic and the practice I use now does dentals so much better. The horses chin is on a free standing stand and the horse isn't restrained. Plus my new vet uses a much better power float tool. If there is a sedation issue, there isn't a panic issue because the horse hits the ends of cross ties.

    Tom- the stocks were horse stocks though they aren't as well designed as the ones at the practice I use now. A horse struggling with sedation would sit back and have their hips/legs come underneath them so they would be sitting dog like. Other times horses would lift their front legs up to get away, hit the cross ties and struggle. It was NOT an every week thing it was a thing that happens from time to time when a vet is dosing to the average for a horse and not having a history on the horses sedation tolerance.



  4. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by SLW View Post
    when a horse blows up in the stocks by going up or down it's a frigging mess. The horse survives but it isn't pretty- especially with the horse cross tied. We had a couple clients horses that had to be dropped for dentals and that worked out very well. It cost a little more to drop them but the trade off is they are damaged or broken at the end of the dental..... A horse struggling with sedation would sit back and have their hips/legs come underneath them so they would be sitting dog like. Other times horses would lift their front legs up to get away, hit the cross ties and struggle.
    Interesting behind the scenes perspective. This is progress? The new normal? Dropping horses for dental? Perhaps something could be learned from the old fashioned approach?
    OP I'd try a second opinion if there is an option



  5. #25
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    I'm just throwing this out there, but is she perhaps afraid of what she is seeing, i.e., a human with scary tools approaching her, and could a blindfold help? It is also possible that she is sensitive to the grinding noise and vibration. Horses, as I understand it, don't have nerves in their teeth the same way humans do...the nerves are down much deeper in the root.



  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by SLW View Post
    . . .Tom- the stocks were horse stocks though they aren't as well designed as the ones at the practice I use now. A horse struggling with sedation would sit back and have their hips/legs come underneath them so they would be sitting dog like.
    IMO a well made set of stocks has adjustable padded straps over and under at the girth and flank, behind the buttocks, and forward of the shoulder. 'nuther words the horse could pick up all 4 feet and still be supported as with a sling, AND the horse is prevented from shifting their weight off of square - so they can't sit down or stand up.


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  7. #27
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    I think I would chat with your veterinarian about pain management prior to doing the dental work as well as some exercises you could do to help with the TMJ issues prior to the dental work.

    It sounds like your mare is going to be a candidate for frequent floating until things settle down in there. Like up to every 4 mos doing touch ups until the muscle memory has adapted to correct dentition rather than pulling everything out of whack. I had a horse like that. Took 4 floats in 1 year before she started staying more consistent.

    I too would consider hauling her to the clinic if they have a good set of stocks. But I think I'd investigate the pain angle first.
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...



  8. #28
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    Nov. 22, 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toothgrinder View Post
    . . . Perhaps something could be learned from the old fashioned approach? . . .
    Nobody seems to have time to learn that nowadays.



  9. #29
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    Maybe try a different vet/equine dentist. Sometimes a different person will position things a little differently and that position doesn't bother the horse.
    I think the pain management prior to the visit is a good idea.

    A friend had a horse in her late 20's that had some TMJ issues. The equine dentist filed the front teeth. His explanation was that the molars had worn down and the front teeth were still fairly long. The long front teeth prevented the molars from connecting well to chew. Therefore the mare had to do all kinds of gyrations with the jaw to chew and then would get TMJ pain.
    Vet tranqued horse, front teeth filed, no more funky chewing, no more jaw pain.
    I don't know if this is a normal floating option or what, just that it seemed to work for this horse. The vet must have been on board with it since he was there to tranq the mare.
    Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)



  10. #30
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    Jul. 22, 2007
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    ^SonnyMom, as was explained to me by my dentist, and fully competent dentist always does the incisors as needed...that shoud be a normal part of floating. My poor mare had some huuuuge wedges on her incisors, that were causing all kinds of problems. You could see and feel how much her TMJ opened up after he was done, it was amazing.
    "On the back of a horse I felt whole, complete, connected to that vital place in the center of me...and the chaos within me found balance."



  11. #31
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    It sounds to me like there is probably significant pain in there. I'd probabably go ahead and have the vet drop her so dealing with whatever painful issue is hidden in there doesn't traumatize her further. Once she is fixed up, start working on other solutions for next time, and get her on a short schedule so there isn't ever a lot of work to do.



  12. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ainsley688 View Post
    ^SonnyMom, as was explained to me by my dentist, and fully competent dentist always does the incisors as needed...that shoud be a normal part of floating. My poor mare had some huuuuge wedges on her incisors, that were causing all kinds of problems. You could see and feel how much her TMJ opened up after he was done, it was amazing.
    Incisor adjustments for horses is similiar to an urban legend. Although it's basis lies in fantasy, it keeps getting passed along. There is no credible research into the procedure and when it does appear in the literature it's usually to warn the reader against its use. I'll bet many more horses have been harmed by incisor reduction than have ever been helped. So how do you "see and feel a TMJ open up"?


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  13. #33
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    As much as you don't want to do it, if this was my horse I would knock her out for dental procedures like that. As long as the vet can still do the work with her flat out of course. Much less stressful on all involved.



  14. #34
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    Our vet says that if a horse gets upset before the drugs kick it, there is some chemical released that keeps the drugs from binding to the proper receptors in the brain. That means sedation is not effective and pony is awake. I don't know the science of it, just what i have been told and seen, a vet could probably explain it way better. For my mare we have to be sneaky and make sure she doesn't see the vets truck or see/smell the farrier or his work. The vet walks in and gives the shot real quick before she can think or it doesn't work. If we fool her, it works very well and she will be out of it and very calm. Suppose your horse could be the same way, could a vet she doesn't know or a tech give the sedation before she could realize the vet is there and what is going to happen?



  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ainsley688 View Post
    Have you had a chiro or massage therapist come out? If you KNOW she had bad TMJ pain, I would work on getting that as loosened up as possible before working on her mouth. Coming from somebody who has a tendency to get a painful TMJ, it REALLY REALLY hurts to open and keep your mouth open.

    I would give her some pain meds to help relax and loosen up the TMJ, and keep her on them for a while before the dentist comes out.
    This x 1000. From what you've described OP, it sounds like the actual floating isn't the problem, but the keeping her mouth open. Like Ainsley said, when you have TMJ issues opening your mouth and keeping it open are extremely painful. Pain reactions and anticipation of pain can cause a horse to blow through sedation pretty quick. It's possible that the horse sees the vet start setting up for a dental and gets anxious because she associates that with pain.

    Has your vet tried pre-meding with valium? Most of the horses my SO sees in his practice are just fine with the powerfloat under minimum sedation, but there are a few horses that have various issues from previous injury, abuse, or neglect. You can only give a horse so much sedative safely, and for the super anxious ones get to a point very quickly where they are at max sedation and still completely with it and fighting. Those horses get lots of wither scratches, maybe a treat, a quick injection of valium, and more petting and scratches. After a few minutes the valium kicks in and the horse is nice and relaxed. Normal sedation can then be used and the horse doesn't have the anxiety reaction and blow through the sedative. Also, if her issues are in her TMJ, valium is a muscle relaxer and can help loosen the jaw muscles around the joint which will prevent some of the associated pain.
    It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things.
    Theodore Roosevelt



  16. #36
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    Feb. 5, 2012
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    North Carolina
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    Related to the TMJ/pain issue try using the speculum on a lower setting and not cranking her all the way open. My 25yr old gelding has been a real problem with dentals the past few years and like your mare needed enough meds to knock out an elephant. This past year I told my new vet about his history, she gave him a reasonable amount of meds and then set the speculum on a moderate setting and I was astounded at how well he did. For years he had been a nightmare to float and I felt awful that we hadn't figured this out sooner.



  17. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Bloomer View Post
    IMO a well made set of stocks has adjustable padded straps over and under at the girth and flank, behind the buttocks, and forward of the shoulder. 'nuther words the horse could pick up all 4 feet and still be supported as with a sling, AND the horse is prevented from shifting their weight off of square - so they can't sit down or stand up.
    I stand corrected Tom, the stocks at the clinic where I worked had no safety straps. The bars could each be swung away to release a horse if needed.

    The stocks at the new vet that I use does have safety straps.



  18. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by SLW View Post
    I stand corrected Tom . . .
    Well if you're correctly strapped to a welded steel frame that way, you really have no choice but to stand correct.


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  19. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Bloomer View Post
    IMO a well made set of stocks has adjustable padded straps over and under at the girth and flank, behind the buttocks, and forward of the shoulder. 'nuther words the horse could pick up all 4 feet and still be supported as with a sling, AND the horse is prevented from shifting their weight off of square - so they can't sit down or stand up.
    Wow, what a concept! Stocks that are safe and usable!! Tom, that is a winner idea.

    My old Vet from when I was a kid, had such stocks, didn't really use much in tranquilizers. Horse would struggle when the strapping was on, found it didn't change anything and quit fighting. Of course there were a few exceptions, some who just liked to fight for ANY reason, so he did tranq them.

    My young mare had real "attitude" in all settings, and at home you just couldn't hold, tie or "make" her stand and behave. Putting her in the stocks for dental work took care of the problem. Wide 12" strap across the back, another under the belly, and she couldn't do anything about leaving. She learned to stand quietly in the stocks, get her mouth worked on and got to be pretty good about it. When I moved away from being able to use him, she had progressed to standing with her rump in the stall corner and having teeth done that way. Needed the corner so she couldn't back away, but no fighting at all.

    This was floating done with hand tools. We are still having horses done with hand tools, willing to pay extra for it. We have seen some horredous damage done using the power tools on horse teeth. There is no "putting enamel back on" tool when the power user is done. Also heat damage done to teeth, from the high speeds of the power tools. Seen quite a few teeth killed by cooking the soft tissues by grinding and overheating them. Yeah, these WERE done by DVM qualified folks, Dental Specialists!

    If I had a really bad horse for teeth, I would find a set of stocks as Tom described, try to get a meeting set up with a Tooth Person using hand tools. See how she did with that. Might have to just do a bit of work, over several sessions, as she learned to stand in the stocks. Yeah, could be a bit expensive, but might aid in re-training her mind about being worked on.

    My horses get their mouths fooled with from foals on. The Horse Dentist handles them during their visits, so foal and growing young horse understands what is going to happen during the process. All of our horses stand quietly in the aisle, wear speculums, get worked on with NO medication. Don't need it with the hand tools. We have used various dental folks, horses are good for all of them because of training and no power tools. Horse accepts being uncomfortable, process is not PAINFUL, so he can manage it. We think of it as something they need to know, like standing well for trims or shoeing, so you have to work with them on it.

    My old horse who started tooth work badly, also seemed immune to the tranq. She would fight and get worked up anyway, they had almost no effect. She had some badly cut legs while young, tried the tranq to sew her up, didn't work. Learned how to wrap wounds very well! So we just went with the restraint method, in using the stocks for the teeth work. No tranq at all. Good thing she wasn't a large horse, with her no-quit attitude fighting her would have been really dangerous! She did FINALLY mature, quit arging about things, turn into a very nice animal I had until she died of old age.



  20. #40
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    If you vet has tried all the options with drugs, including presedating and all the other little tricks that are used, then you may want to just lay the horse down. I'm certain the horse could be hand floated but really what is the point if you are not going to do it right. It would be very extreme to lay a horse down for this but obviously teeth need to be done and of course in a situation like this you want them checked out and done well so that the horse isn't in pain. Sometimes you just need to do what you need to do to get a job done correctly.



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