Last week I wrote I wrote about how my horses wouldn’t eat the new food I got them. Since then the mare has started eating again, but my gelding is still not taking his feed. He will eat hay, but nothing else.
Tooth problems are always suspected when something such as this comes up. I’ve had his teeth floated about a year and a half ago, but at a recent convention I sat through a presentation of an equine dentist and that opened my eyes to a lot of interesting things. Namely, would you have your physician work on your teeth? Sure your doctor can spot decay and gum problems, but they aren’t really equipped or have the in-depth understanding of your mouth. The same thing goes for your vet.
The first problem is that the teeth that have problems are in the back of their mouth. If you stick your arm up to your elbow in their mouths their teeth are where your fingers are. A normal vet can grind off hooks and jagged edges, but they normally don’t have the understanding of the pathology.
All this said, I took my horse to an equine dentist, who immediately removed a broken tooth from the poor guy. He found that he had been doing all of his chewing on one side of his mouth; for years. The dentist did radiographs, balanced the mouth and evened out the occlusion. It was amazing to watch and I understood it because of my years of working in the dental industry.
The only problem for most is the price. You probably know how much it would cost a human to be sedated and have their mouths worked on for two hours. For a horse the price is slightly less…slightly.
My horse has a tooth that will need to be extracted on his next visit. This will be a three hour procedure and will cost twice what I paid for my first pick-up truck. Ho-boy!