Vet Visit

by Lori Albrough on October 28, 2011

Christina listens to Levi's heart

Christina listens to Levi's heart

This morning at 6:30 am Levi was calm and happy to see us. I was happy to see that he keeps a tidy stall, which is always a likeable quality in any horse, and also meant he spent his first night without agitation.

Our, vet Dr. Christina Mohos of Wellington Equine, arrived just after 9:00 am. I opened Levi’s stall door, and Christina and I stood there chatting while Levi stood relaxed beside me, head down and curiously checking out our dog Iris. Then I put on his halter and put him on the cross-ties. He stood quietly while Christina checked his back, his tendons, his joints, and his vision. All checked out fine.

Hmmm, what do we have here?

Hmmm, what do we have here?

After that she gave him an IV dose of sedation so we could float his teeth with the full-mouth speculum and power float, and I was glad to see he didn’t flinch at all while she found a vein and inserted the needle.

On examination of his mouth, Christina found his teeth were very sharp and the cheeks had sores inside. More startling was the finding of a piece of baby tooth embedded in the gum right in front of the first molar on the bottom right! The embedded piece could be moved around, which would cause a lot of pain, similar to having a bamboo sliver stuck in your gum and having someone moving the free end around. If the piece had been rooted more firmly it wouldn’t have caused quite so much pain.

Getting the sharp edges floated off

Getting the sharp edges floated off

Christina’s feeling was that if he wasn’t a stoic Fjord, someone would have noticed him having trouble eating by now. She used an extraction tool to remove the retained cap and then power floated his teeth. I am now going to give him a couple of days to heal before I put a bit in his mouth. During that time I will rinse his mouth with salt water twice a day to hasten the healing process. A tablespoon of salt dissolved in a cup of water, administered with a big dosing syringe should do the trick.

When Christina was leaving she said “I wish all my patients were as nice to work around as this guy is”, and, “I really need to get a Fjord for myself”. I love that Levi was able to maintain Christina’s high opinion of the Fjord temperament.

All the rest of the morning in the barn as we did chores and had horses coming and going being groomed, tacked up, going to be ridden, coming back to be untacked, etc., with sweeping, shoveling, hoses, and all the other rattlings of a busy barn, Levi was calm and watched everything with curiosity and interest but no worries. I have him turned out now in a paddock by himself right next to Storjo (four year old) and Fjelljo (two year old) who I hope will be his paddock buddies in the future.

I have a good feeling after this first day!


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Maurette Hanson October 28, 2011 at 6:47 pm

I am so looking forward to following Levi’s progress! From the moment that I read about what the trainer had said, I knew that this was a misrepresented Fjord! Whenever I hear a trainer or anyone say that a horse should be euthanized because of bad behavior, my antenna goes up big time!


Beth Merrill October 28, 2011 at 11:05 pm

I look forward to learning from your posts. Interesting that you had him checked by a vet first, and yet he had been “written off” without an exam? Wonder how long his mouth has been a problem?


Lori October 29, 2011 at 9:57 pm

Good question. I looked up when horses change that first bottom premolar, it is at age 2-3 years. His baby tooth didn’t properly get out of the way at that time and got jammed into the gums. I always make sure that any horse I work with has his teeth floated and checked before ever putting a bit in his mouth. I hope my readers do likewise. Don’t let pain create training issues!


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