Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Long in the Tooth

Today Starbuck had her first visit from the dentist (Sandra Fortuny)!  She's a woman about my age or a little younger who did her veterinary residency in the USA at animal hospitals near Belmont and Aqueduct racetracks, so she's seen a lot of horses in her day.  Both Starbuck and I appreciated her calm, professional "stallside" manner and she was also really instructive, explaining what she was doing and how to tell if problems arise in the future.
So first she sedated Starbuck since we decided that we didn't want her to come away with a scary memory of the dentist and I only had a couple of hours (it was on my lunch break).  Then she stuck her hand in there and checked her out-- apparently my baby girl has some wolf teeth which will have to come out in the coming year.  Then she did some light floating (rasping away of irregularities with a file) to see how Starbuck handled it (pretty calmly seeing as how she was way out of it).  Afterwards she used a speculum to keep Starbuck's mouth open while she really sanded down any points that might cause pain when they rub against her teeth and gums, and while she was doing this Starbuck lost her other front tooth... so I have a (kind of gross) souvenir!  At the very end the dentist took the speculum out to finish off with a small file.
Starbuck behaved like a real lady during all of this and only kind of protested towards the end when Sandra was working on her rear molars (she's still got her last molars coming in so that area must be kind of tender), I was so proud of her!  The vet says that not all horses behave so well even under sedation.  When this was all over (it took around 40 minutes) the dentist showed me how to tell if the teeth were growing incorrectly (holding Starbuck's mouth shut, I should be able to shift the lower jaw left and right 1 centimeter) and also told me to call her if Starbuck starts showing signs of having pain due to the wolf teeth so she can surgically remove them.  And I got a fancy report with a diagram of Starbuck's tooth wear and growth patterns as well as recommendations until the next visit next year.  And Starbuck got a nice long scratchy massage and an extra fluffy bed to sleep in tonight!

All in all an educational day and much less stressful than I feared!  Thanks Sandra!!!

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