Friday, February 19, 2010

Prince Wm visits the Dentist!

Today I am once again amazed at Prince William's calm and willing nature. As we go through this keep in mind that he is not yet six months old.

For those who are reading about Prince Wm for the first time, he was pulled from his mom at one month old and had to fend for himself. At two months old he was shipped from Missouri to central California in a trailer load of horse and the recipients had no idea he was coming. They put him out in the pasture to once again fend for himself.

When John from Zen Equine Rescue of Central CA saw him, he was emaciated and barely able to stand. John contacted animal control who immediately went out to check on this little colt. The owner (fearing criminal charges) turned the colt over to John who immediately took him to Pioneer Vet Clinic.

He was emaciated, anemic, had hair loss patches all over his body, parasites and an upper respiratory infection. That was on Dec. 4, 2009. He was quarantined, given antibiotics, wormer and started on a high fat diet to get his health back. On 12-30-09 we saw this little guy and heard his story and decided to bring him to our facility to continue his rehabilitation. We brought him home with us on New Years Eve day. He started 2010 with a family that fell in love with him.

One of the first things I noticed was his difficulty eating. He had huge ulcers on his lips that would bleed when he ate and he had to open his mouth wider than normal to chew his food. The ulcers were gone in a week (Llysine was a big help) and after a chiropractic treatment by Dr. Dawn Fletcher he was chewing a little better, but I still thought he was opening his mouth too much to chew his food and a lot was falling out.

Today was his day for dentistry. This is the youngest patient we have had in the mobile dentistry clinic. Even though he had never walked up a trailer ramp he followed me up the ramp and inside the dental stock with no problem what so ever.

A little sedation to make him comfortable for the exam and dental work and we were ready for his exam. Right away we can see the scars of the ulcerations he had along his lips and gums. The scars don't seem to be causing him any irritation.

At his age he has his baby teeth and until he is about two years old with have 3 teeth on each side up and down. His teeth have erupted normally, but we do see that he already has sharp edges and there are causing light abrasions on his tongue. We also see he has a scar right in the center of his tongue (the little black spot) hard to say how he got that.

The angle of his teeth is a little steep and that can be a reason a horse would open his mouth wider than normal to chew. Mis-alignment or pain are other reasons too. We determine at his age all he needs is a float to reduce the sharp enamel points fixing the angle of the chewing surface and giving his tongue a break from the sharp edges.

Here is a before and after so you can see the difference.

Now that the sharp edges are gone we check to be sure his teeth move laterally across each other without any problems and and all is well. Next we need to look at his incisors.

Right now he only has eight of the twelve he will have. The four outside incisors usually come through the gums at age six months - that is what is helping us determine how old he is. We can just see the upper incisors just under the gumline so they should be erupting through in the next few weeks. He will probably start teething as the teeth care erupting through the gums. Yep, just like babies...

Prince William has what is called an over jet which is quite common. Not a parrot mouth were the incisors don't touch each other - the over jet means that the upper incisors sit a little further out than the lowers. With an over jet we need to be sure the upper teeth don't grow too long and over the lower teeth making it difficult for them to chew food to get it in their mouths.

We were done in about 15 minutes and Prince William did so awesome. He ended up needed minor changes, but now we have a baseline to start his dentistry history from, we know he has an overjet that will need regular maintenence and he should have no trouble chewing his food because of the angle of his teeth or any other irregularities.

Some of the issues that happen to babies include twisted mandible or maxilla (lower and upper jaws), parrot mouth, and monkey mouth (a complete under-jet) or teeth not erupting as they should. Foals should always be checked between six weeks and six months to be sure there are no major mal-occulsions. Typically this can be done while the foal is out with his mom so it doesn't get too worried nor does she. You do want to be sure before you wean them that they will be able to properly chew their food.

After we were done Prince Wm backed out of the trailer stall with no problems. Out to the pasture so he could get his morning snack of grass... Yummy!

Dentistry services provided by myself and

Dr. Lisa Grim of 2-19-2010


  1. I am totally amazed at what you do! Lucky little guy to be in your care.
    Vicki Freiberger

  2. Wonderful to watch this precious little guy as he progresses.He's lucky to have you!

  3. Grandma Joan says .......this little guy is a little angel. I love looking out the window everyday and watch him. He really has a super temperment. My Great Dane is almost as tall but William is just curious, not afraid. They really look awsume nose to nose.