HORSE TEETH – Equine Dentistry and Vaccines – The Horse Veterinarian Visits
Articles Blog

HORSE TEETH – Equine Dentistry and Vaccines – The Horse Veterinarian Visits

August 18, 2019


This is called a speculum It goes around their ears, and it’s kind of like a weird bridle. Their incisors sit on these bite plates So it’s like putting a realky weird bit in and they fit in just like that Morgan tightens it up so it stays on her face basically so we can pull them apart It’s veterinarian day! The horses are getting looked at so I’m gonna take you along. So horses Have a really high concentration of calcium in their urine and in their saliva So in geldings and mares with canine teeth you will often get little tartar buildup in their mouth Which we will certainly check them for Hi sweet girl! We’re pretty fond of her Ok Morgan…..if you want to go ahead and take her… We’ll be taking digital Coggin’s So we take their pictures and then that way it’s printed out, so it’s very similar to what you have. Hi Maggie! She’s very friendly that’s a good thing. Alright Honey smile for the camera. Duck face…. So the goal is… perfect!… these Coggins photos….we need to be able to see any potential marking that she might have so we like to Spread their feet so that we can see all four of them, okay There we go….there…perfect! Beautiful! So what she has marking-wise is she’s got nothing on either front leg And then this left hind doesn’t have any markings on it but she has what we call a medial fetlock or on the inside and then a lateral pastern and so we try to be as Descriptive as possible on their Coggins because the whole goal of that sheet is for you to be able to Identify that horse in a whole herd of the same colored horses Hi sweetie….do you have a white lower lip? Do you know how old Maggie is? She just turned 9. Nine perfect Do you have any other name that you would want to show her under other than Maggie? Maggie Grace. Maggie Grace? Okay perfect so when I go put it in it’ll be Maggie Grace and then at the “Other identifiers” her Barn name will be Maggie. Ok for the Coggin’s it’s one tube of blood And we typically use serum -the liquid portion of it – to run it So this is yearly….it’s kind of like an exam? If you see something that could be bothersome, or wrong or illness you’ll let us know? Absolutely! Okay so we just get that one full tube of blood……..these tubes are really nice because you just put the As long as you have the needle inside the vein it basically sucks it all up. Just like you at the phlebotomist This clear one which is the larger amount is our influenza and Rhino This really dark pink one is our rabies vaccine, and then this light pink one is our Mosquito-borne diseases as well as our tetanus, so these all go intramuscularly I do them in three different sites Rabies goes alone on the right side so “R and R” I can always remember that And that way you can kind of tell if they have any sort of reaction Lumps swelling tenderness heat that type of thing what they’re reacting to and we can go from there. Okay, so basically On the horse. There is a triangle of muscle so here There’s a little delineation And that separates the muscle from the nuchal ligament The nuchal ligament runs from there withers to there Pole and it’s kind of like the crane wire that allows them to raise and lower their head The horse’s spine actually runs from basically here And then down low and then comes back up and goes around like that So you want to steer clear of The vertebra and then this is the scapula or the shoulder blade for them so basically this little Triangle right here is a great place to inject things Another way to think about it too is when the horse bends there gets a little kind of dimples right here That’s exactly where you want to put it. Okay, so basically you grab a little bit of skin it kind of desensitizes them Put your needle in ease it in just like that pull back make sure you don’t have blood if you do you pull out and redirect a little bit and Then give let go and rub nice and easy So that’s her rabies vaccine and we’re gonna do that twice more on the left Okay, so I do the Flu-Rhino a little bit closer to the scapula, and then I do the Mosquito-borne and the tetanus a little further up so I know where they always go again same principle. Ease in… Pull back…give Good girl!!! And last one, baby Just like that. Good girl! Good pets! Good girl momma! So the next thing we do is a general physical exam and and just make sure Overall she looks healthy and we don’t have any concerns about our heart Or lungs or anything like that so I always start with the temperature Good girl, oh goodness you are such a good animal good little mare Are you just telling us that? No, she really is! yeah, I have some horses that are literally trying to kick my head off by this point Right Morgan? Yeah, all right, so horses run a little hotter than we do her temperature is 100.7°F – completely normal Anything under 102°F is normal in a horse. A true fever depending on who you ask Starts at 102°F or 102.5°F. I get concerned when they’re over 102°F. okay. She was very good for that And then best place to listen for the heart rate is on the left side So their elbow is basically right here There’s a nice little divot essentially where the girth goes right behind that shoulder muscle. That’s the best place to listen And her heart rate is perfect……do you want to take a listen? So in horses it goes lub-dub is one beat So their heart rate is slow enough and their heart is big enough that all of your different heart sounds can be audible in them And horses have a general resting heart rate under 40bpm. Her’s is 32bpm which is perfect Their lung field basically comes here, and then down a little bit and then comes up and then back across Good girl And then we listen to gut sounds there are four different quadrants one up top and one down below on each side so you want to hear normal gurgles and bubbles and that type of thing Perfect and then we do the same thing on the other side Here we go This sides really noisy….you wanna hear? Hear all that noise? Yeah. That’s a good thing. We like active GI’s (systems) Listen on the right side too because horses just like people and other animals can have heart murmurs Especially they can develop as they age Which can be there are normal aging change or changes that are not so normal so her heart sounds great I don’t hear anything like that good Hey, baby Other things that we like to do is we like to examine the mucous membranes or their gums So hopefully – have a little bit of food right here – so we like that nice healthy pink color, and then you can tell it’s very moist and then you press and That color returns to normal within two seconds, so that’s perfect okay Additionally I kind of take this opportunity to check their incisors, and you can see she’s got this big hook right here people will call that the 7-year hook and They call it that because Frequently at scene and horses that are seven years of age or older Because that’s kind of when all their teeth start really aligning in there It’s not an abnormal finding, but it typically indicates that they may need their teeth done or floated at that point additionally I always check their digital pulses in their feet which basically is kind of a measure of how healthy are their feet or Can indicate problems such as founder or laminitis that type of thing so they have Blood vessels that run on the outside and on the inside towards the back of the leg, and there is a little Kind of rubber band type structure that you feel and it kind of snaps back into place It’s in the same position on either side and that’s what you gently place your hand over, and you basically you’re feeling for any increased Bumps against your finger which would indicate that their blood pressure is really high and hers are normal in this foot And Normal on that foot additionally you always check and see if their hooves are hot which can indicate additional inflammation and hers feel good Perfect overall she looks like she’s in pretty good health What I’ll do is I’ll put gloves on and we’ll take a peek and see what we can see in the back of her mouth And if she needs floating but basically off that seven-year hook She’s probably gonna be due so it looks a little barbaric the way we check their teeth So basically we kind of reach in there we grab the tongue and we Hold it out to one side so that we can see up in there and their cheek teeth because they go the cheek teeth Basically start right there You can feel the the front edge of it, and they go all the way back to about there Okay, so the majority of their teeth are hidden from view……or hidden from normal view Yeah, so I’ve seen at the barn Horses under sedation, and they seem kind of like I mean so when you leave are they almost out of it So it depends on which kind of sedation you use And how heavily you have to sedate them to get the job done um so most of the time I don’t love to leave them if they’re super drunk I may stay around and chat with the people for a little while and until they kind of wake up a little bit, but Some horses are such lightweights that whatever you give them…..they’re gonna be out for hours Okay that type of thing so it’s just standing sedation. It’s not like we have to do general anesthesia So additionally we look and make sure that their incisors have a nice level bite occasionally you’ll get horses that have slant mouths like that or the other way or they have smiles or frowns, and all of those are dental issues that need to be addressed so they can chew appropriately I know sweet girl I Have your tongue And we’re just gentle as we poke so we kind of separate and We take a peek so the easiest way to look is right in front of her and we look down The hatch right against the tongue and then on the top We try to look at the outside and She needs to be done. She’s pretty sharp Yeah Yeah, okay so typically at this point I go ahead and I sedate them I Let them get sleepy and then Morgan grab the some water and that type of thing and then we give Them basically like a little horsie Listerine rinse And squirt it up there with a dosing gun so that we can have a real close view And then after that you guys can all take a peek too once we put her on the speculum and open our mouth So you’ll be able to see better about what I’m talking about Basically that just goes between their cheek and their teeth And we just rinse their mouth And we try to get a whole bunch of that feed material that she had in there out There we go There you go, and we do that on each side. So is she a lightweight? Not really……I gave her a fair amount.
She likes her tequila Have you ever had a horse fall down on you? Ahh once once, but she actually looks pretty good right now so this is called a speculum, so It goes around their ears, and it’s kind of like a weird bridle and their incisors Can you close that other side down a little bit for me? Their incisors sit on these bite plates, so it’s basically like putting a really weird bit in And they fit in just like that Morgan tightens it up so it stays on her face, so it looks like that Basically…..we pull apart That’s perfect And then Morgan gets her gym workout in oh yeah Then that’s a great thumbnail image We put our light in and so what you’re looking for is you’re looking at the top outside and the bottom inside along the tongue So you can see here all those super sharp jagged edges against her cheek that is uncomfortable for her to chew with Okay, so she’s got those on both sides of her of her mouth and then against the tongue there you see all those sharp sharp edges This can actually create ulcers just like us when we bite our cheek or tongue and create difficulties chewing so She’s got them on both sides….you want to take a peek? So up top on the outside Those little mountains there, and then the little mountain is there on the top on the bottom really good This is called the dental float or this specific brand is a “Power Float”. It is a heavily modified Dewalt drill and so basically It comes apart like this This is not is not really modified very much except to accept this adaptor and Basically, there’s a belt in here that rotates this way which then turns different gears and then turns the diamond bit, that’s in here and That’s what actually grinds the teeth down So this is our configuration for our upper teeth so that we can therefore get the outsides And then we pop it down For the lower teeth so we can do that way, and I don’t have to switch like that because that gets really awkward Okay It’s a little noisy I’m gonna take a peek at one side that’s done, and then the rest of them are just like that. So We don’t have those same sharp points. They’re sticking into her cheek and this part so We’ll do the other upper just like that and then Morgan’s gonna grab her tongue and pull it over to one side I’m going to knock the sharp points off of one side, and then we’re going to switch to the other side And then she’s gonna let me finish that side. I’ll come back and finish the previous side Feels really good. So can you tell me.. what about it horse’s tooth…. What makes you need to do this so basically? It boils down to how horses chew so the motion of their chewing is basically a big figure eight so Their jaw their bottom jaw goes like this so with that motion they sharpen the upper outsides and the bottom inside of that and so just like us if we bite our cheek and We’ve got irritation there that can Give them ulcers and make it uncomfortable for them to chew and if they’re uncomfortable they may not want to eat very well They also won’t chew their food properly so it can certainly affect their weight and other nutritional statuses So basically when you take those sharp points away They can chew at their best and really break down the food and absorb all the nutrients so your grinding teeth off But they grow back it grows back and by grow back Horses actually continuously erupt their teeth so they have quite a bit of what we call reserve crown That you can’t see that’s up still in their gums So it’s gonna be actually for the top teeth it’s in their sinuses and then for the bottom teeth It’s actually in their jaw bone itself so when horses get to a certain age And it’s a little bit independent Or a little bit dependent on the actual horse themselves they will get to a point where they don’t have anymore Tooth to erupt and the tooth will essentially fall out so that’s gonna happen typically for most horses. It’s going to be in their 20s And then you have to make dietary adjustments in the wild they don’t live that long so right now that we have them as pets they get to Long lives all those other things. Yep. Okay, go ahead and take her off Morgan and let’s put her on the Gag so that we can get at those incisors please Now and then because she’s drunk, she’s got her tongue hanging out of her mouth We kind of stuff that back in a little bit, and then this is a mouth gag So it basically keeps their mouth open for us So we can then work on the incisors, which were hidden on that bite plate with the other speculum So that allows us to then work on the incisors So now we can get to that hook and take it off. And that’s what you call the seven year hook? correct And then there’s a little groove right here I don’t know if the camera can actually pick that up But if you run your finger over it you have an indentation and that’s called Galvayne’s groove and Galvayne’s groove starts when they’re about ten and it grows down so you can kind of figure out from there about how old they are. So she doesn’t really have the Groove so much yet? Not really yet….So she’s kind of got the start of it up but it’s not a big one or anything like So let me take that And we profile…..it flat and then I give them a little curve Just like that Very nice. So we do the same thing over here on the other side There we go so now that tooth is also done We have a little bit of a smooth up and then it’s level nice and level Since she does this part on her own, right? Yep. They wear this down by grazing and Basically prehending their feet She’s all done we always rinse their mouth out So that way they don’t have that dust in their mouth because I don’t like a gritty mouth So I don’t like my patients have a gritty mouth either And then I also check their teeth occlusion now that I’m done How well do they chew – and how well can they actually grind on that surface? But Maggie wasn’t giving us any indication that she wasn’t feeling good Yeah, a lot of them don’t because they’re prey animals. They don’t want to ever display weakness. Yeah, so Typically once they let you know that they’re having issues typically they’re pretty significant It’s actually easier for me to see in the Sun yeah, uh-huh So when they’re drunk we just take it easy with them, and they walk so we take it slow No sharp turns or anything like that because it’s a little bit harder for them to balance so and then we At the hospital we would put them in a stall and let them wake up so if people have stalls available That’s typically what I like to do as well And how long does the drunk last? So with the drugs that I gave her… Typically they’re a little bit out-of-it for about 45 minutes to an hour There we go All right So she’s just gonna stand in there and don’t be surprised if she’s swaying a little bit or anything like that They do that so it’s the “sedation sways” yeah Maggie’s a little drunk in the barn waiting to wake up from the sedation and now we’re taking care of Tao they’re taking pictures For his records and we’re going to go through the same process with him Hey Dr. Gross and Morgan -thank you very much for coming out and taking care of the horses. You’re welcome! Our pleasure! Thank you

Only registered users can comment.

  1. Your vet did an excellent job of describing what was going on and the why! I suspected that Maggie was going to require sedation based on the reaction she gave when the vet went for her tongue. 😉
    Now, there is some controversy in using the power tools. A lot of vets prefer them, but not so popular (at least in my area) among the equine dentists. They feel that with the power tools it is too easy to over grind the teeth, which can also be a problem. (it looked as though your vet had pretty decent control, it did not look over done on the front at all 👍)
    I don't know if your vet uses sedation as a standard practice (some do), but from my experience they don't all need it (yes, Maggie did). I had a horse that enjoyed her floating so much, she would practically say "ah" for the dentist! (used to have a pic of her doing it, but it died with an old phone ☹ ) The dentist we use does most of his horses without sedation, but does with those that are "less than cooperative".
    Great video!!

  2. WoW . . . Really Really intense!!! Yor vet was very informative explaining everything, that was pretty AWESOME. . .BUT for me, when the drilling started . . OH NO!!! Uh UH!! I covered my screen and was constantly saying the OH NO thing over and over, sorry that made me weak in the knees, Made me queasy, just couldn't take it, cover screen turn off sound. . .but I did participate in the rest. Maggie was such a good girl, totally amazing. How did Tao do? Was watching Luke, did he question any of the examine at all? Just curious, me I would have fainted, no doubt, the drilling stuff, I would have kissed the ground!!! Uh Uh , Oh No!! You guys really handled all that so well. . . . (Now you know how I am at a dentist, not kidding!) Thank you for this ADVENTURE! Amazing stuff, love that you care and love your critters! You Guys Rock!! . . .As always . . . Be Kind, Be Light, Be Love to one another, Help, Hear, Listen and Enjoy each other! . . . .Just Be! Love you guys!
    PS, Glad it's all over for you Maggie Grace and Tao!!!!!!! I feel ya! UGHhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Ahh-ha-ha-ha-ha

  3. Taking horses' pictures to note their markings is a terrific idea — but it would be better done in full sunlight without any shade from tree limbs that might be mistaken for markings. Also the Incredible Dr. Pol and his vet coworkers "floats" horses' teeth from time to time, which is necessary when a horse stops eating because a tooth is too high/long and it hurts to eat. It' is an odd-looking procedure but seems to work!

  4. I heard what sounded like a very large drill and turned the video off :/ I have to learn to read the video headings I guess to keep from falling for the click bait :O ooops :/ also just got back from a visit to the vet and my Aunts cat got shots I don't like those either 🙁 lol glad to hear Maggie is doing well 🙂 hope Tayo sorry if the spelling is wrong has just as good an exam 🙂 thanks for sharing ? 😀

  5. Wow! Maggie did amazing during the whole procedure. Glad I’m not a horse 😂 I don’t think I’d have done as well.

  6. While I found this a very interesting watch and some what educational, I so don't agree with much of this kind of human intervention. ESPECIALLY vaccines.
    would have liked to see how the boy did with all that. Kinda sad no videos of that. Maggie is a stellar horse! Thanks for sharing that. Smiles and blessings…

  7. Maggie’s head-collar is on far too tight. The nose pad should be about 1-2 inches lower, and the piece around her throat should not be tight so it doesn’t inhibit her swallowing.

  8. OK you need to learn how to use a halter that halter is way too tight you can tell because the Nose band is way to up on the nose you need to Learn you're one of those people who adopt horses and doesn't even know what they're doing

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *