The teeth of a pony who had been difficult to ride had been so badly over-rasped, the nerves had been exposed.
Equine dental technician Victoria Hammond was called to see the six-year-old Connemara-type who had been recently imported from Ireland.
Victoria told H&H the mare was “an absolute darling” to deal with on the ground but ridden, she would “block” on the left rein, refusing to bend left, eventually setting her head to the right and “glazing over”.
“The owner assumed she had some sharp teeth and asked me to have a look – but the last person to do her teeth had taken off the whole of the front of her lower pre-molars, exposing the pulp. Someone’s just lopped the top of the tooth off,” she said.
Victoria said the forward and backward marks of the rasp used are visible and that although the tooth has started to repair itself by laying dentine down over the exposed nerves, the damage has been done.
“The dentine would have taken a few weeks to form, and in that time, you’ll get bacteria in the pulp – the nerves and blood supply – which starts killing the tooth. You wouldn’t be able to see the signs but the pony would feel it.”
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Victoria said it is hoped the tooth will be saved as only one or two of the six pulp “chambers” are affected, but she has been referred to specialists, to X-ray and probably perform root canal work.
She added that no one with appropriate dentistry qualifications would have done such work, urging owners to ensure they are using qualified technicians.
“Should this pony have fallen into the wrong hands or this issue not picked up, her behaviour would have worsened through no fault of her own,” she said. “I hate to think what the consequences would have been.
“Please don’t let anyone without qualifications near your horse’s mouth. There is no place for dentistry like this in today’s day and age.”
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