Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Dental work and stuff

Jasper got his teeth done yesterday.  It was a fun day.  I work as an assistant to the equine dentist (also a vet) so we had a fairly full day, six horses to do including Jasper.  He went into a small corral to wait for his turn, and he had fun tearing it up in there while he was settling in.

As he was getting to know the neighbors, three huge pack goats came down the driveway on their way to their summer pasture.  He thought they were very interesting.

Later on a moose showed up on the hillside, and he ran around until it went out of sight.  He wasn't in a complete panic, but he was pretty excited.  I was hoping for more of a nonchalant reaction, but at least he didn't try to bust out or anything.  For some reason a lot of horses find moose totally terrifying.

I didn't get any pictures during his dental, we just didn't have time.  The mobile dental unit is a huge gooseneck horse trailer with a set of stocks right in the middle at the back, and a ramp leading up to it.  They get their exam outside the trailer and then load up.  Jasper just walked right in behind the doctor without even having to be asked.  I shut him in the stocks and he was kind of disappointed when he couldn't back out again, but didn't act up or anything.  He got his sedative, and then a second sedative, and was never really totally sedated.  Mules take more sedation than horses, and I wasn't surprised that he took more than the average mule because he does have a more active personality.  Even with the light sedation, he was a very good boy, which is fairly awesome for one his age who's never had anyone in his mouth.  

She didn't find any really extreme problems in there, but he did need some things fixed.  According to his file he had very sharp points, buccal lacerations (sores inside his cheeks from the sharp points), ramps (at the very back) and waves (chewing surface wavy rather than level).  These waves were causing some feed to get caught between his teeth.  He will need a float annually to keep this from worsening and hopefully correct it completely.  If left, he would eventually end up with loose teeth and spaces in between where food can get deeply trapped, which can cause infection and a lot of discomfort.  Usually this wouldn't be apparent until he was an old man and having trouble eating, and at that point it couldn't be fixed, only treated as well as possible.  He also had "ventrally curved incisors" which I had noticed when I went to look at him, but I knew those could be fixed, and his canines needed to be reduced, and she gave him a bit seat to keep the front molars from poking his cheek/lip when ridden with a bit.  Nothing really complicated, but I'm glad we're getting on top of it now.

I had a lot of fun with all the horses that came yesterday.  They all get dental work yearly, so they know the drill and are very well behaved.  One of them I'd love to steal from his owner.  Absolutely gorgeous draft cross with a beautiful flaxen mane and a wonderful personality.  He does 3 day eventing, but is also a stellar trail horse.  I met him in passing on a poker ride a couple years ago, and he stuck in my mind so well that I recognized him when he came for his dental work.

When we got home, Jasper took off for the pasture, and all three of them had fun running and bucking, then settled down to graze.  When I brought them in for their nightly feed, Jasper still did the yawning and stretching thing that tells me there might still be feed getting trapped in there, but it had a different quality to it.  More yawning and less working his tongue like he's trying to dislodge food.  I'm hoping it will stop after a few days as he gets used to his new mouth and the sores in his cheeks heal.

I was lazy for the rest of the day yesterday, had a nap, loved on all the critters, watched TV, and enjoyed the daffodils on the hillside.


Kate said...

Glad Jasper was so good for the vet. Moose! We don't have those around here . . . just as well!

Snipe said...

Jasper is a very cute mule, and his conformation looks nice.

Keechy said...

I reckon the muscles of their jaws and necks are a bit stiff/sore after dental outing, so he might be yawning a bit due to that. Hope he is soon feeling much better!