Tuesday, November 24, 2020
I took my equines to a ranch on the eastside where a veterinarian and a dental specialist would float their teeth. For those unfamiliar with horses, they have teeth that constantly grow. Equines are built to live in the wild, to forage across rough terrains having small rock fragments, non-grass particles that keep chewing teeth in check. Domestic horses eating clean food and grazing on cared for pastures have teeth that grow long and uneven. The teeth become “hooky” and cannot cut and grind food adequately. The floating is adjusting teeth levels, removing hooks, and checking for broken, loose, and diseased teeth.
So, that’s floating, and the modern method is by using power tools. The tools are designed to reach far into a horse’s mouth, to grind, saw, and rinse. The process begins with an anesthetic, making a horse drowsy, and just enough, for the dentist to keep open its mouth, diagnose the teeth, avoid getting bit, and even-out the bite.
For each horse the process, in which they remain on their feet, takes about an hour. Afterwards, the animal needs time, about forty-five minutes to an hour, to recover from anesthetic. In a drugged state, it responds to a handler enough to move groggily to a safe place where it hangs out until awakening.
Yesterday, we arrived on time but the appointments had been backed up by the late arrival of a first appointment, because that horse refused to load into a trailer for the trip. I got there to find several horses still ahead of mine. I decided to wait, and long story short, Sunni and Rosie got done first. While they recovered, Pimmy had a turn with the dentist.
A donkey differs many ways from a horse. The small-dose anesthetic given Pimmy made her too sleepy to stand and move without assistance. Her teeth needed work, and the dentist did a good job. But afterwards, Pimmy couldn’t walk out of the stall. We were patient, finally managed to get her into the open, but she remained too sleepy to walk.
Long story short, I waited with Pimmy over two hours, until finally, she could, if forced, take steps as I insisted, urged with a lead rope. Although she improved, no way could she have made the small leap that takes her into my horse trailer. Meanwhile,, Rosie and Sunni were loaded and awake and willing to drowse in the trailer while I tried to awaken Pimmy. Finally, I gave up, had to leave her there to recover in a stall. This morning, I’ll return for her before I must be at work.
The veterinarian, whom I consider experienced and competent, insisted Pimmy’s dose had been very small, but in reality he overdosed. Over Pimmy’s years with me, her teeth several times have been floated. In my experience she does recover less rapidly than the horses, but slower by minutes, not hours.
Next year, in preparing Pimmy for floating, the veterinarian and I will plan for her dosage. I will opt for a series of tiny injections while we observe and evaluate her responses. Yesterday, Pimmy’s sleepiness proved incredibly stressful for her, the horses, and me. Worse to me is knowing that when finally she awoke, alone in an unfamiliar stall and among strange horses, Pimmy must have been bewildered, felt deserted.
On another note, here are the ranch’s Aussies, “people dogs” and good companions to my wait.
Dear Friends: I must hurry to retrieve what’ll be a very very pitiful little buddy. Diana