Friday, October 3, 2008

Déja vu all over again

If it's a beautiful fall Friday, it must be time to haul two equines to the vet for a little preventive maintenance.  Today it was Hank and Lyle's turn.  (Click here for the George and Alan version.)

Lyle knew something was up the minute he settled into the trailer (which I still hate but haven't found a different one yet, and that's still another story).

The 11 miles out to the highway was the usual bumpy, teeth-rattling ordeal.  I really don't mind it unless I'm hauling the horse trailer, and then I hate it.  I stopped when we finally reached the pavement to make sure my precious cargo and tires were intact.  Poor Hank was shaking like a leaf, so I let him rest awhile, then assured him the next 80 miles would be smooth sailing.  I hope he understands that the awful road is the sacrifice we must make for living our perfect life in the middle of nowhere.

We made it safely to the clinic in Albuquerque's north valley, despite the bazillion tourists in town for the annual balloon fiesta, and the boys settled in to their temporary accommodations. Lyle did a few jaw exercises to get ready for what was to come.

Every year, Hank and Lyle get their teeth checked.  If there are any sharp points or edges or signs of uneven wear, then the vet floats them.  Such a gentle word for such an invasive procedure.  Lyle had several sharp edges on his molars, so our favorite vet sedated him, then went to work.

Be grateful that there is no audio track for this post.  Just imagine the sound of a giant rasp grinding away against enamel.

Take a good look at the vet's left hand in the next picture.  Go on it if you dare.

Yes, that's Lyle's tongue he's got a hold of.  Imagine if your dentist did that when your tongue got in the way!

Now it's Hank's turn.  He had only one tooth that needed a little work, so the vet decided he would try to do it without sedating him.

Is it weird to take pictures of your horse at the vet? Don't answer that.  It's a blogging thing. 

Hank was a real champ and handled the procedure without the benefit of drugs.

Lyle was still seeing pretty colors and sleeping it off.  Wait...what are those vet techs doing on the other side of Hank?  Why are they kneeling on the floor?  What could they be looking at?

Oh, the indignity...our favorite vet went into teaching mode and was giving a detailed play-by-play to the two student techs on "cleaning the preputial sheath."  Though I had performed this lovely little chore myself in the spring, I wasn't convinced I had done a good enough job, so I let the professional handle it.  Literally.

I told Hank it was all in the name of science, but I'm not sure he was buying it.


  1. Do your vets ever power float? I had heard it was THE new way to do teeth but after reading more I decided I would rather go the regular, "old fashioned" hand float.
    My vet only power floats, its easier on her physically (she's quite petite) so I take advantage of the travelling horse dentist when he comes to town.
    A big plus to the traditional float is that the horse doesn't automatically have to be sedated. My mare is in her late 20's so I don't like her to be drugged up unless it's absolutely neccessary.

  2. Boy, whatta day for all of you ... I bet you all were totally exhausted when you got home. Whew!

  3. I like the look on his face in the last picture, seems he's not too sure about what's going on back there. The boys were very brave and I'm sure they got some treats after their awesome adventure to Albuquerque.

  4. Oh the indignity and discomfort of it all! I hope those boys got a special treat when they were back safe at home. What good horses - especially Hank- I can't imagine trying to do the dental work on my girls without a sedative. I'm the only one around here who doesn't hate the dentist.

  5. We have the vet coming out in the next two weeks to do FOUR dentals. I really don't like it - the sedative, the head thing, the noise.

    I'm glad yours is over with and the boys are all back out to pasture enjoying the season.

  6. Man, what a day. Poor guys, I bet they were glad to get home and "hit the Hay"......Literally.

  7. Love the shot of Lyle "seeing pretty colors"...ah ha ha ha.
    Do you do the sheath cleaning with the donks, too? Four months ago, I'd never heard of such a thing, but now I'm hearing about it more and more. I haven't heard anything from PVDR on anything I need to do or look out for...

  8. Yep, always a fun trip. We take our guys in a couple of weeks - after the Balloon Fiesta is over as we have family coming in next week.

    I doubt we'll need any floating as that's usually done in the Spring. Mostly just shots this visit.


  9. My horse/donkey Vet is always pretty proud of his work....he has me feel the before and after teeth. He most always has to sedate my animals. It may be different with Jasmine....she just stood there without a halter and got her shots and opened her mouth for him to take a look. :) Sheath of my least favorite things about the boys!

  10. Oh my - you gave me a flashback to the summer I worked on this ranch and had to take care of a bull that got a little amorous with a cow on the other side of a barbed wire fence. I will pause while you pull up this mental picture.................anyway it was my job to put medicine on the damaged area and make sure it wasn't getting infected.

    I am sure this incident in my past has left lasting scars on my psyche but they are nothing compared to the lasting scares on that bull's "psyche"

    Kathy J

  11. My vet uses the big dremmel tool for floating. It is amazing to watch! Jack will be getting his teeth done soon, and you have inspired me to take some pictures of the ordeal ;-) Your boys must feel better without sharp teeth!

  12. I love the photos and no not odd at all that you would take pictures of all these things! I must confess I had never heard of sheath cleaning... oh the indignity! :)

  13. Poor Hank and Lyle...but it looks like you have a good vet. It's fun to see the whole process even if it feels strange to take photos.