I feel like there have been a lot more horse teeth in my life lately than one would typically want. The first one was kinda cute, Presto shed his first front incisor (apparently he’s reading the book, since that’s supposed to start around 2 1/2 and he’s bang on time), which presented as a hilarious snaggletooth for a few days before he finally lost it somewhere. Considerably less cute was Henry’s broken molar.
I had been seriously dreading this. The vet noticed the broken tooth when we touched up Henry’s teeth this summer (his jaw is slightly mis-aligned, so he needs dental every 6 months). It wasn’t emergency level broken, but it was “this needs to come out soon” broken. Ugggggghhhh I hate tooth stuff, it’s too close to the (admittedly teeny tiny) brain. I didn’t want to do it when it was still 110 degrees, since Henry has a higher risk for hyperthermia type side effects with lots of sedation, and I wanted to wait until he was settled at the new place before we added more stress. So last weekend we took the x-rays, to make sure my vet felt pretty confident he could get it out without too much trouble. If it was shattered, or particularly fragile, or the roots had broken away, he would have referred me to the very fancy dental specialist guy and it would have been a much bigger deal that required a lot more digging and time and specialized equipment. Luckily we saw two distinct pieces, possibly three, and he felt pretty sure that he could get it all pretty easily.
The extraction appointment was this past Saturday, and y’all… it was gross. As soon as the vet started poking at that tooth and wiggling it (it was already loose) that disgusting rotten tooth smell floated from his mouth. Gag. That is one of the worst horse smells possible. I had to hold his tongue for a while and my hands smelled like it. I’d rather be elbow deep in horse placenta for hours than get a single whiff of rotten tooth.
Henry did not go down without a fight so we had to sedate him twice before he acquiesced to having a bone yanked out of his head. Once he stopped fighting it went relatively quickly, and the first broken chunk popped out. The tooth was split almost down the middle, and you could see where food material had gotten down into the crack and was basically composting. Yes, the tooth was literally stuffed with rotten food, which is where the smell was coming from. Hope no one is reading this while eating their breakfast.
Once the first half was out, the second half came pretty quickly. As it was removed it broke, but luckily it was already far enough out at that point so nothing was left behind. Luckily there was no sign of underlying infection, and there seems to be no communication with the sinus.
Henry, even in his drunk state, immediately started shoving his tongue in the hole. We tried to plug it but that lasted all of about 10 seconds before he worked it out. Tried again, same thing. Given how busy he is with his tongue all the time, I wasn’t very surprised. He came out of the sedation well, and it stopped bleeding pretty quickly, although he did get it started again a couple times because he just wouldn’t quit messing with it.
We got him cleaned up and I watched him for a bit to make sure he was ok. Aside from continuously sticking his tongue into the hole, he seemed fine. He got to eat his dinner a few hours later, and on Sunday he was back to normal.
Of course, if there are going to be complications, many of them won’t show up for a little while. Since he wouldn’t leave the plug in, we’re flushing his mouth out twice a day (which Henry calls “waterboarding”) to try to keep too much debris from ending up the hole. Otherwise we just have to wait and see and hope it heals without issue. I’m mega paranoid. I’m probably gonna be mega paranoid for months.
The vet will be back out on Friday to recheck, so hopefully all still looks good by then. I’ll definitely be riding him in his sidepull for a while, until I’m sure that his mouth has fully healed. Hopefully he’ll be more comfortable without that gross broken thing in there, once his mouth is healed up.
Presto is scheduled to have his wolf teeth removed over the winter, which will cause a whole new round of worrying and paranoia on my part. Horses. Teeth. Gah.