Sunday, September 1, 2013

Horse Dentistry

Yesterday I drove to Norman, Indiana to work with a veterinarian doing horse dentistry.  It was at a campground that caters to horses and horse owners.  I really enjoyed working with the horses and with the vet and his wife.  Here are some pics from my day:

Here is where we were working, you can see my black car and the trailer just to the right of it is where we worked:

The stalls right near where we were working:

Just across the way were some round pens as well:

The trailer that we worked in (that is the vet's wife in the green scrub top):

The stanchion inside the trailer

 A couple more pics of inside the trailer

Instruments used to float (essentially, grind down) horse teeth.  These tools are for doing it by hand but he mostly uses electric floaters now.

Instruments used for yanking horse teeth

Here I will briefly discusss the process and then show the pictures:
The vet would talk to the owners and check the horse's heart with his stethoscope.  He would then sedate the horse and the horse would be walked into the trailer and into the stanchion.   We would insert a device that would keep the horse's mouth open so the vet could work in it and then rest the horse's head on a holder hanging from the ceiling to keep his head up.  First, we would rinse the horse's mouth out with a dilute antiseptic solution.  Then, the vet used a grinder to help flatten all the sharp points out on the horse's teeth.  After he flattened the teeth, he used another tool to round off all the edges.  Finally, we did a final rinse and then backed the horse out of the trailer.  Then the horse would be rested for a couple hours to let the sedation wear off before being ridden again.

Talking with an owner:

Droopy head = sedated horse!

Here, the mouth opening device is in and the vet is checking out the teeth

Another horse getting ready

Onto the trailer we go!

Closing the end of the stanchion once the horse is in.  We also placed a bar just behind the horse's butt as well

Putting the mouth-opening device on:

Rinsing out the horse's mouth:

Hoisting the horse's head up to make it easier for the vet to work in the mouth:

You can see the light that shines into the mouth so the vet can see what he's doing

The vet was very good about showing the owners what he was doing 

Here the vet has the electric floater and is grinding the teeth down to make the chewing surfaces nice and flat:

Ever wondered what a horse's back teeth look like? Well here they are!

Backing out

I learned where the "backup switch" (as the vet called it) was on a horse.  By pushing on the front part of their shoulder, they tend to back up quite nicely.  Here I was doing this but the horse was just getting out of my reach

It was overall, an amazing experience!  I really enjoyed it and would love to do it again sometime.  The vet who I worked with is actually going to be going to Mexico with a group of us this January where a few of us vet students will actually get to do the work on the horses, not just help out.  Here, people were paying him as he is a very well known and respected equine dentist amongst other things so he did all the actual work in the mouth.

1 comment:

Dad said...

Looks pretty interesting. Some pretty neat pictures.