Tuesday, May 5, 2009
The Horse's Mouth: Equine Dentist Visit!
Sunday was Dentist Day for Johnnie and my new boarding barn mates. Finally I got to meet some of the others who board at this lovely quiet place. What a nice group of ladies. We were united in admiration of our equine dentist. The photo above is of his traveling rig. The horses go in the back and rest their heads or necks in a padded collar; a single stall has been narrowly walled in the middle to hold them up when they're sedated.
Our dentist is a vet who specialized in equine dental care, invented most of his own tools, and covers a wide area. He is also single and owns a 4000-acre horse and cattle ranch in South Dakota - "All the single ladies, put your hands up!" He remembers a lot of info about each client and each horse even though there are hundreds of both in a given year of his practice. And he wears hot looking jeans and cowboy boots.
He's been doing my horses' teeth for some years now, and I've noticed an interesting phenomenon of improved personal hygiene on dentist day, among my horsegirl friends. A touch of lipstick takes the place of chapstick, or the cleaner jeans appear. There have even been hopeful paper plates of chocolate chip cookies. But so far no senorita has become his senora over the grinding of equine molars.
He's delightful to talk to and we had a nice chat about retirement. I made my little gallows-humor joke about my fully invested retirement fund which has taken such a beating I may be teaching until I'm 273 years old. I said, Anyway no reason to retire as long as you are having fun!
And he said, And every day, or really every horse, is different and challenging. Every horse's mouth is different, and they will surprise you: the best bred, best cared for horse will have a terrible mouth, while a woolly muddy old heffalump will have gorgeous dentition. You just never know!
His eyes were just sparkling when he talked about his work. That's the way it should be for everyone!!
Here's John getting his points ground down:
Johnnie has "a very nice mouth" and doesn't need too much work; indeed I won't get to see our dentist friend for two years now unless I happen upon dental day.
The horse before John had a tooth blow up and there was blood, pus, stench, the owner almost fainted, the trailer door flew open and her white face appeared as Dr. Charming unfolded a chair for her to sit in the breeze and watch the clean-up. After me was an owner who was just praying that her aged horse's molars could last out another year and not be pulled; they were loose in their sockets last year at this time.
John is strongly affected by anaesthesia even though Dr. HotRanch uses 1/2 the usual amount for him; so I waited until I saw this little expression:
before I could leave.
It was a really interesting day and I just love knowing all of John's teeth are smooth and in good shape. He did have a pocket of some weird business going on in the front upper gum. Dr. DreamGuy said this might go away with the post-work bute he gave. And today I couldn't find it but I don't trust my skills as John doesn't really let me explore his gums the way he lets Doctor Slowhands do it.
So Happy Trails to You our much-admired Equine Dentist!! We'll put our lipsticks away for another time...sigh.