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Anyone recognize this? Tooth abscess??

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  • Anyone recognize this? Tooth abscess??

    Went to the barn this morning, DP usually meets me at the gate, but he's standing off by the fence, licking his lips--kind of absorbed in it. Occasionally puts his head down like he's going to lick the ground or nibble on the sparse grass, but doesn't, continues licking lips. Occasionally does the flemn...ing thing with his upper lip. Coughs once, continues licking--vigorously in terms of how far out his tongue comes, but not quick or frantic.

    Usually, he follows me into the barn so he can get in Dipper's paddock and snarf any hay that he has left, but today he doesn't, stays by the fence, licking (not licking anything, just tongue in and out as though licking lips, but lots of tongue movement in and out).

    I do my few chores, mucking, etc, and feed; he does come in to eat and then moved on to his hay. Seems subdued and absorbed in something, but otherwise eating normally.

    I then go back to the house, shower, dress for work, make my lunch, and when I'm leaving, I stop back by the barn and let everyone out on pasture for the day. All looks normal, but DP has a small amount of white snot in his right nostril. I'd noticed a small amount of white snot, I think always on the right, two other times in about the past two weeks. DP has a bit of allergy/breathing issues, he's very thick thru the head and throat, so I had thought it was probably an allergy issue, but now I'm wondering about the possibility of a tooth abscess that was causing a bad taste in his mouth and producing the snot??

    Did not take his temperature, resperation looked normal. Honestly, it wasn't till I was driving to work that I thought of the abscess possibility.

    I will call the vet's office as soon as they open, tho I know my usual vet is off on Tuesdays. But at least will set up an appt.

    Anyone recognize this as something familiar??
    "One person's cowboy is another person's blooming idiot" -- katarine

    Spay and neuter. Please.

  • #2
    A bee sting? piece of hay stuck back behind a tooth? some strange plant or flower that he ate that irritated his mouth?

    When we thought my horse had an infected tooth, he had a horrible smell coming from his nose but no real discharge and no sign of pain in his mouth - just what appeared to be a bad sinus headache. Turns out he had a sinus infection but not a tooth problem, fwiw.

    Edited to add another thought: is anyone at home today? can they check him mid-morning to be sure he's not subtly colicking? I didn't think of that at first but I have a vague memory of an "almost missed" colic presenting with nothing more than vague strange licking and chewing behavior.
    Last edited by betsyk; Jul. 21, 2009, 12:08 PM. Reason: thought of something else

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    • Original Poster

      #3
      I went home to check him myself, he seemed fine, perfectly normal.

      He did actually look the tiniest bit colicy yesterday evening. He is prone to occasional gas colics and will get a ripply look along his stomach and some minor muscle fasiculations, which I saw yesterday right after feeding time (tho the rest of him was taking an after-dinner nap). No other colic symptoms, though.

      So, I will be keeping a close eye on him!
      "One person's cowboy is another person's blooming idiot" -- katarine

      Spay and neuter. Please.

      Comment


      • #4
        When our TB had an abscessed tooth, he had a unilateral nasal discharge that was yellow/green and smelled awful. Only other sign was carrying his head oddly when riding (this started the day before the discharge and must have been a sign of discomfort).

        But you can never be too careful. Long story short, despite 2 surgeries and the best of care, we lost him 7 months after the initial diagnosis (abscess was dx'ed by digital radiography).

        Comment


        • #5
          My Shetland pony mare had an infected/abscessed corner incisor removed 14 days ago. Symptoms were very light white discharge out of the nostril nearest the bad tooth and some drooling/wet mouth along with a general lack of pep.

          Comment


          • #6
            Tooth abcess

            My experience with a tooth abcess is that there will be some smell. You can put your nose up to the horse's nostril and breathe deeply (if you dare, once it is bad, this will knock your socks off). Another thing to try is to stick your finger in the horse's mouth and then smell your finger. The abcess smell is definitely identifiable. It will smell like rotten eggs or decaying flesh. Its possible there is an abcess but it hasn't hit the open air yet, and it won't smell yet. Pulling the tooth is an easy fix for this problem, but pulling the tooth isn't always easy. It can sometimes require surgery (KellyS, I am so sorry to hear you lost a horse because of an abcess.) The first vet I went to for my horse's abcess recommended surgery because he couldn't pull it. they can go in through the skull and punch it out. So I called a dentist who is also a vet, and she said, pshaw. She did pull the tooth. If it does turn out to be an abcess, don't take no for an answer. Search around for a really good dentist to see if you can have it pulled.
            if its not an abcess, it could be any number of things! Something stuck in the mouth, in the teeth, in the throat. The vet should be able to pinpoint it.

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks Avezan...it was a really sad experience.

              They initially tried to pull it but the tooth was keystoned in. The first clinic did the bone flap/punch-it-out surgery and we thought it did the trick. However, we couldn't get the infection to resolve and radiographs my own vet did showed that there were bits of root left behind (he could feel them up in the socket!).

              We took Traveler to New Bolton for a second surgery (after trying to pull the bits of tooth was unsuccessful and resulted in major bleeding). They got everything they could, but there was a piece they couldn't find (that was showing up on radiographs). Initially Trav did well but then started to go downhill again as the infection reestablished itself. At that point you could see him start to give up--the side of his face where the surgeries had been done was getting mushy and swollen. We decided that putting him down was the most humane thing to do.

              We took him back to New Bolton to have this done so they could use his body in an MRI study they were doing. Postmortem they discovered that the piece (they couldn't find during surgery) had knitted itself into the skull. There would have been no way to get it out. The whole experience was devastating, but they did tell us that what they learned from Traveler's case would help other horses they would be treating.

              Comment


              • #8
                Meredith Barlow posts here and has an extensive website.

                My mare had (has) an abcess. She was pregnant at the time so the vet did not advise surgery, but gave her a long course of antibiotic that works anaerobically and it has probably cured it - It was quite expensive, but not compared to the alternative. Been a couple of years now with no problem. (Cannot spell, remember or pronuouce the name.)

                Also, could be any number of other things, as suggested by these posts.
                Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

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