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Teeth/mouth issues - a question (and a bit long)

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  • Teeth/mouth issues - a question (and a bit long)

    I'm curious as to how many of you have found residual issues after a float?

    Horse was floated at the end of May, about 13 months after his last one (power float with sedation, same vet this time as last year). He had been exhibiting some escalating resistance (big head tosses, balks, lunging sideways)... BO felt around and said "yes, definitely some hooks and rough places in there." So I had the vet come out and float him within a few days. He was... better after that, but still somewhat reluctant to give me any bend to the inside rein on the right. Left was back to normal. I'm not asking for BIG bending either, just looking for the corner of the eye.

    So, have now had chiro out twice, thinking it was a problem somewhere else in the body. She identified nothing huge in the way of subluxations, a few out places (right SI, C3, C4). She also did acupuncture on him this last visit. When I rode him last night, his gaits were more fluid and even (he tends to be a leftie) but the moment I asked for a light contact (i.e. training level posture) or a bend I get BIG twisty head jerks, angry ears and big resistence all around. In either direction.

    I am not experienced enough to shove my hand up in his mouth and feel for specific problems, and the past few days there hasn't even been horse experienced adult to hold him for me to even try. The chiro (who is a licensed vet) did not identify any TMJ issues during treatments. He is eating fine, was actually recently moved from his smaller dirt lot to a grass pasture and seems to be putting on some pounds (he wasn't under, but has a willowy build anyway).

    So, my thought tend to go back to his mouth. Could it still be teeth or some other oral/dental problem?

    Almost forgot to put in - 14 YO Arab gelding. Only other health issue since I have owned him was a minor bout with sand colic impaction, no surgery required, no recurrence. He is shod by an excellent farrier and has no footy issues.

    Thanks!

  • #2
    Are you sure that your saddle fits correctly? What type of bit are you using?

    I have never been one to get my horses teeth floated. My gelding who was 21 only had it done once and most of my teenaged horses had never had it done. I have the vet check them when he is here, they didn't need it. I guess I am just lucky.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      The bit is a Myler wide-barrel comfort snaffle Baucher. He also has worn a plain, short-shank mullen-mouth pelham.

      Comment


      • #4
        I'd have the dentist back out for a look. He did use a speculum, correct? Were there hooks in the very back of the mouth, and were they addressed? Were there any ulcers in the mouth that perhaps are still being aggravated and not healing?

        Comment


        • #5
          I just asked because if he is fine until you ask for him to bend it could be your saddle is putting pressure or maybe pinching him when he gives to the bit. If his teeth or mouth were still bothering him I would think he would act uncomfortable whenever he had a bit in his mouth, not just when you ask him to give/ bend.
          It was just a thought. I am not familiar with the bits you are using. I only ride in a full cheek snaffle. It seems to work for us no matter what horse I use it on.

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Candy - The only reason I haven't looked more closely at the saddle is that it is the same one we have been using for four years - have had no problems. He hasn't changed shape in any very drastic way, and I usually check and double check on wither clearance, the channel and make sure it's not sitting on his shoulder (it is a dressage saddle) at every ride. I have a western saddle that fits him, which I can try, although it doesn't put me in the best seat.
            The mylers are made not to collapse in the center - he has not been fond of single jointed bits in the past.
            here is a link to show what it looks like, just so you have an idea:
            http://www.vtosaddlery.com/Merchant2...uct_Code=MMBL1

            The pelham we used was a plain mullen mouth, with short (4.5") shanks and the curb was kept fairly loose.

            While I don't get a lot of ears and crabbing during bridling, he was furiously BITING on the bit (not the sort of licky chewy thing, but crunch crunch crunch)

            Simkie - yes, they use the speculum and he is sedated. I need to look at his sheet from the vet again as I believe she made notes of her findings. I don't recall anything about ulcers or any open sore, I do seem to remember notes about ramps and possible hooks. I'm a little unsure about having the same vet out... I like to give the benefit of the doubt but at the same time... what if she misses something else? There is another vet at a different practice who does specialize more directly in dental practice. I used her before when we had more horses being done at a time as that practice's barn call fees were higher than the one I used this year and last year (more horses, less per capita barn call fee).

            Usually I like to attend when my horse has a dental and this year I didn't because my work had me out of town on the day it was being done

            Comment


            • #7
              If he was floated using only one tool you can be certain the entire mouth wasn't floated properly. The upper last molars need a very specific length and angled float if they are to be addressed properly. It's common for horses to become unwilling to bend when the last molars become sharp and begin ulcerating the cheek.
              Check out the first minute of this video, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CwUfy...2&feature=plcp, I explain a easy test(without endagering your fingers) to see if your horse is tender in the back of his mouth. Odds are he'll be more ouchy on his right side. Good Luck
              http://www.traditionalequinedentistry.com/

              Comment


              • #8
                It sounds like in your case it could be several things. It sounds like at least your vet did the basic things that are required to do a good float such as use a speculum and sedate. If they don't do those for basics it would be likely that not much constructive was done and you wasted your money. Certainly when a vet is out to the barn you could get another opinion on the teeth as there are a lot of different ways to do teeth. It is too bad you weren't there as it is always good when you can look and feel in the mouth before and after.

                A couple other things to consider is a bit fitting. Have the vet or a bit fitter look at the confirmation of the horses mouth. That can make a world of difference. Some horses get to where they just don't like a bit after awhile and changing a bit makes them happy. A lot of vets that are equine dentists can do bit evaluations.

                Another thing to think about is the saddle fitting. I know you say he hasn't changed shaped but there is more too it then that. If you can afford it, having a saddle fitter look at your horse yearly is a good idea. Some people have it done twice a year. You would be surprised at how much their shoulders change from year to year if you have a good saddle fitter do tracings. Good look!

                Comment


                • #9
                  I would shop around for an equine dentist - yes, they are freakin' expensive, but they are also SO WORTH IT.
                  Having the dentist out every year is one of the few "spoiled" things our camp ponies get. Every single horse gets checked, unless the owner has specifically asked that they not be done.
                  Even horses that have been power-floated a few months prior by a vet have turned up major issues - like unerupted wolf teeth, broken & abcessed molars, serious "waves" to the incisors...
                  One of these ponies in particular was bought out from my lease by the camp owner - basically I had SEEN the pony's teeth get done in May, and in July he had his wolf teeth pulled (pony was 12, and had not been neglected by any stretch, but had never seen a proper dentist), 2 molars were abcessed/infected, and one incisor was missing its upper match - the bottom was growing up into the gum.

                  If you can, I would try him in a bitless just to see if he reacts differently - if he doesn't then you know that its probably not his teeth.

                  Comment

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