It’s just over a week since I had my boy in at the vets for his canine tooth extraction, and very pleased to have it behind us (for now at least!) and to see him back home, settled back to normal life and doing very well.
All went very well preparing for taking him up to the vet hospital, with some lovely time just me and him on the morning of our travels, keeping everything as calm as possible with a breakfast, a good long pamper and a bit of time ambling and playing together in the sand school before we headed off.
With a little help from my friend who I was so grateful for transporting him up even on a very mixed-weather day with blizzard-like flurries of snow blowing through; we got him loaded up despite his usual nervousness of travelling, got up to the vets’ safely and him unloaded from the trailer and settled in the yard there.
It’s always so nerve wracking leaving him behind there. It’s only the second time I’ve ever had to do it, and this time was slightly different to before as I couldn’t stay with him for the procedure itself either. Last time I’d been there was six years ago for his liver biopsy and I was able to stay with him and hold him during the procedure to keep him calm before just leaving him overnight for recovery and monitoring, but this time with the X rays, long dental surgery and heavy sedation we just had to drop him off, give a last cuddle and leave him in the vets’ capable hands.
We are very, very lucky to have a wonderful surgery, with everyone from the vets to nurses to reception staff so very helpful, reassuring and most importantly so dedicated to the horses’ care, which is what I kept telling myself on the long afternoon waiting for updates!!
Eventually, the wait was over and I got to hear how my wee fluffball was doing and how it had all gone. Unfortunately it had been – as I’d already known was totally possible – a complicated procedure. I hadn’t actually realised before this cropped up for us a few weeks ago the history of canine teeth in horses. Relics from earlier days in the history of the horse and usually only found in males, they have no purpose in terms of eating or anything else our domestic horses today need, but were historically “fighting teeth” used for defence, and as such are very strong and large compared to other teeth in the mouth, extending down into the jaw. In Charmer’s case too, it had turned out when the surgery had begun that the tooth and bone had gone through some changes over time re-cementing at the root of the tooth and making it more difficult to remove. As a result, only a part extraction had been possible and the jury is out at the moment on whether we will have to go for a second operation.
For then, though, my wee boy was slowly coming back round, having been under sedation for as long as it was possible to be, and was to be monitored overnight at the vets’, and I was so glad to be able to get up to see him that evening.
I could definitely see all of his 24 years when I got to him, and how big an ordeal it had been for him, but it was beyond lovely to put my arms round him and have a cuddle; and he was so very well looked after there as he recovered overnight and was seen again in the morning before he was given the go-ahead to come back home.
The vet’s advice, given that the procedure is not complete to the extent they would like it to be and it’s difficult to tell whether any pain or problems would crop up further down the line, is to bring him in again to complete, this time with a travelling specialist also working on him given the complications. It may well be this is necessary and the best possible outcome for Charmer, so if so we will definitely go ahead. However, at the moment I’m very reluctant to put him through a second extensive ordeal if there is a chance the partial extraction could give him the relief he needs to live happily at the moment. It’s very difficult weighing everything up, but knowing his age, his almost-retired lifestyle, the stress he feels with travel and treatment; I want to try to do absolutely only what’s best for him. The vets have been very understanding of this, and so at the moment we’re playing a waiting game over the next six weeks, to see if Charmer’s mouth heals up and if he appears to be pain free. If not, he’ll be returning for part 2 within the next couple of months; but if so we will leave him for the moment have further X-rays a few months down the line to see how things are looking.
It’s impossible to know at the moment how the healing will go, but I am very grateful to the vets for working with what’s best for Charmer and very heartened indeed by how content and happy he has been since he came home – even though due to difficulties keeping the dressing in he was seeing the vet every other day for the first week for more sedation and re-packing and dressing! He seems very bright, very happy, is eating very well (where he’d been struggling a little in the few weeks between the routine dental that this first was discovered and the operation) and I really believe looking at how great he looks at the moment he can feel a significant relief from the extraction he’s had so far.
Keeping my fingers well and truly crossed, and just taking every day as it comes. He’s a wee trooper, and I know if we need to do it all again we’ll get through whatever it brings but at the moment I am so enjoying watching him settle and relax back home. ❤️
Happy Sunday all, hope you are having a good weekend. ❤️