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The impossible to float mare... what to do?

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  • The impossible to float mare... what to do?

    My 23 year old mare has amazing resistace to sedation to get floated. Last year my vet had to give her the max cocktail he could give and she fought the whole time, rearing, rushing forward - we basically wrestled her around the stall to just try and get some of the work done. She will stand drunk as a skunk until we start trying to work on her then the fight is on.

    We can't keep doing that as I'm afraid one of us will get hurt.

    My vet says he's never seen a horse like her and is thinking the only way we might be able to get it done is to lay her down like doing a field castration then work like crazy. Needless to say I'm worried about doing a dental like that. My vet isn't real wild about the idea either.

    Anyone have any thoughts on how to get it done? Have you had to go to this extreme for a float? Would it be better just to let her teeth be since she is 23?

    Thanks!

  • #2
    At 23, dental maintenance is going to be really important, so I wouldn't skip it.

    I'd investigate different cocktails and see if there's something that would work better. There is such a variety of drugs out there, there's got to be SOMETHING that will work to make her a happy drunk.

    I'd also try hauling her somewhere with a set of stocks set up for dental work and give it a go there, where she really cannot get away and is safe while throwing her little fit.

    Have you been able to get into her mouth enough to confirm there's not something causing pain in there? A cracked tooth or terrible hooks in the very back could certainly make her very defensive and pissed off. Has anyone taken a look and a feel with a speculum and head lamp?

    If you just can't get anywhere with stocks and trialing other cocktails, then I'd lay her down and see what's going on in there. Has she always been this way, or is it something new?

    Comment


    • #3
      Is he trying to use power tools to float her?

      Have you tried a hand float? My equine dentist can do 90% of the horses he sees with a speculum, hand tools, and patience (a little or a lot, depending on the horse ) and no sedation. Just a thought if you'd not tried with hand tools.
      Caitlin
      *OMGiH I Loff my Mare* and *My Saddlebred Can Do Anything Your Horse Can Do*
      http://community.webshots.com/user/redmare01

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      • #4
        Does she have good teeth? If so, I'd be inclined to have the vet give her as good of a look as he/she can with their hands and a headlamp once a year, and leave her be if no issues are noted, instead of doing an annual float as a matter of practice. As horses age, their teeth erupt more and more slowly and as such are less likely to form sharp points and need much work. This is per my equine dentist/vet. When they get really aged or have a bad mouth, you're a bit more stuck, because you need to look out for compromised teeth. Have you tried different cocktails of drugs? Does she have TB in her by chance?

        Edited to add: yes to trying hand tools, if he hasn't already (some are very sensitive to the vibration from power tools)
        As Peter, Paul, and Mary say, a dragon lives forever.

        Comment


        • #5
          Dr. Tucker Ocala, FL

          has really good horsemanship and only uses sedation 1/10. He also doesn't use a metal speculum but his hand, which seems to be more soothing to some horses. He just came to MS but will be back in July I believe. I would recommend calling him.

          theequinepractice.com is his website I think.

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            We did try to use only hand floats but she fought that too. She has gotten progressively more difficult over the years. She's always taken major amounts of sedation, even when younger.

            My vet has doing a lot of continuing education for dental work so I'm glad to have someone in the area with lots of education / experience. He travels around the country doing it too.

            He learned how to numb the nerve to the teeth so we were hopeful that might be useful but what we found was severe TMJ pain so we can't numb that.

            From what we could see when we looked in there a couple weeks ago she needs work - she has never had very good teeth. Ramp/wave and diagonal incisors and it looked like hooks in the back.

            Haha, she does have TB in her. She is anglo-trakehner - a chestnut mare to boot

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              We did try to use only hand floats but she fought that too. She has gotten progressively more difficult over the years. She's always taken major amounts of sedation, even when younger.

              My vet has doing a lot of continuing education for dental work so I'm glad to have someone in the area with lots of education / experience. He travels around the country doing it too.

              He learned how to numb the nerve to the teeth so we were hopeful that might be useful but what we found was severe TMJ pain so we can't numb that.

              From what we could see when we looked in there a couple weeks ago she needs work - she has never had very good teeth. Ramp/wave and diagonal incisors and it looked like hooks in the back.

              Haha, she does have TB in her. She is anglo-trakehner - a chestnut mare to boot

              Comment


              • #8
                could she be twitched as well to help hold her still?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Sounds like a horsemanship problem.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Simkie View Post

                    I'd also try hauling her somewhere with a set of stocks set up for dental work and give it a go there, where she really cannot get away and is safe while throwing her little fit.
                    I second this. Take her somewhere where they have the facilities to examine her safely or put her under anesthesia if need be (like MSU). This will help you determine if there's painful issues causing her violent reactions.

                    If she gets a clean bill of dental health while under heavy sedation, then you can address it behaviorally. I might try a different dentist to see if a different technique elicits different behavior... and only float "as issues arise" instead of keeping her on an annual/semiannual schedule.
                    Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Boomer View Post
                      He learned how to numb the nerve to the teeth so we were hopeful that might be useful but what we found was severe TMJ pain so we can't numb that.
                      That might be your problem right there...
                      Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Have you tried to do her without sedation?
                        If sedated my mare will fight like crazy, no sedation she stands like a lamb to be floated with hand tools.
                        You know why cowboys don't like Appaloosas?" - Answer: Because to train a horse, you have to be smarter than it is.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          What drugs has the vet tried and at what dose? For horses like that, presedating a few minutes ahead with a bit of Ace, then a combo of Dorm and Torb often work.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Tom Bloomer View Post
                            Sounds like a horsemanship problem.
                            LOL, right.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Sometimes the horse feeds off of your anxiety and emotion will start to build so that their anxiety level is already high before the procedure actually starts. Years ago I had a quarter horse gelding that had some really bad experiences with the vet. He would fight to the death. Shots, floating, worming him was a battle. I found that if we did not make a big deal about stuff that we could get his maintenance care completed if we did it when he was in his comfort zone. So we floated his teeth in pasture - it was a hand float and it was the best that we could do for him. We could do it under light sedation and a lip chain.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                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.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Have you tried hand floating her with a carrot? Everyday? Open the mouth, rub the carrot around the exterior of the teeth etc. Work up to using all the equipment the vet would use, crosstie, twitch(without actually twitching her), white vet coat etc.
                                  Sounds stupid I know, but harmless.
                                  Also, have you tried letting someone else handle her? I remove myself from sight when my terrible loader is being loaded, he picks up my nervous vibes and is much better without me for loading.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    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.
                                    "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."

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      My equine dentist always does stuff to loosen up and relax a horse's jaw before he puts the speculum in the horse's mouth.

                                      Link to photo album from last visit below . . .

                                      http://farriersforum.com/useralbums/...entist.22/view

                                      .

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        It sounds like she is likely in considerable pain in her mouth, which is causing the defensive behavior.

                                        I wonder if it would make a difference if you pre-treated her for a week with a fairly hefty dose of anti-inflammatories and then gave her a bolus dose IV 30 mins before attempting sedation.

                                        Comment

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