The ponies have had their feet trimmed, now it’s their turn to see the dentist. Checking horse and pony teeth is an essential job, their teeth grow all the time and if they aren’t kept short by the food they eat, they will develop sharp spikes which dig into the soft flesh of their mouth and make eating painful. So often a very thin horse just can’t eat. One sign in the early stages is if the horse takes a long while to eat their feed or spits mouthfuls of food out.
All the ponies have had their teeth checked this week and all of them needed some remedial work. It doesn’t hurt them but when the teeth are filed they have to stay still and keep their mouth open. The dentist fits a special bit which makes them do just that. I don’t suppose they actually like having this done but they don’t seem to mind and seem to know that they are being helped. Daydream, shown above, is having an intial check.
Pixie with the special bit fitted, the vet rasps the sharp projections on the teeth with a long file. Soon done Pixie. He was well behaved and stood quietly till it was over.
Bibby is patiently waiting her turn. She is one of the more dominant ponies and although very friendly with people, she is aiming to be the boss of the herd. Even the older ponies seem to defer to her, if Bibby says ‘move’ they get out of the way. There always has to be a herd leader, there is a pecking order in ponies, just like chickens!
Isn’t it my turn yet? Bibby is getting a bit impatient. If you have horses or ponies make sure to make an appointment for the equine dentist to come at least once a year. We have ours done on a rota basis, now the little ones have been sorted out, the bigger horses and ponies will be done next time. If there are any irregular surfaces in your horse’s teeth he could be suffering discomfort, if not actual pain, on a daily basis. The mouth can actually become cut and sore by sharp teeth. When we rescued Danniboy, our red and white cob pony, he was emaciated and very depressed. His owner told us that the pony wouldn’t eat. Danniboy had been tied to the back of a lorry for most of his life so it was little wonder that he was so depressed and poorly.
Danniboy is a lovely pony with a sensitive and affectionate nature. He may look like a ‘macho-man’ but he is really a complete wimp! When we fetched him back to the sanctuary we asked the dentist to check him out right away. His teeth were very neglected and his mouth was sore. Once he’d had treatment he could eat again and started to put on weight. The rest of his health and emotional problems took a while longer though.
One of the ponies, Ruby shown here on the left, hasn’t had her teeth checked this time though. Ruby has a somewhat cramped mouth and hates having it done. It would be stressful to force her, she either has a fear of it or it may be that she is caused discomfort by the procedure. Rather than upset her we have booked the vet to come at the same time as the dentist and Ruby will have a sedative so that she doesn’t feel any pain. Ruby is normally a good little pony and always wants to please so she wouldn’t be making a fuss over nothing. It’s a bit like having a filling without an injection – don’t worry Ruby we’ll get you some pain relief!